NORTH SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Air Innovations has reintroduced a unit that can help the healthcare system easily and affordably create isolation rooms.

The company first developed the product for 9/11 and the SARS outbreak, around 2002. The demand never developed as anticipated because the need for large numbers of isolation rooms never materialized from either situation.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic did create an urgent need for several clean rooms at healthcare facilities across the country.

“If there is a way that a business can help, I think they need to look at exploring those options because, at the end of the day, you’re…what you’re trying to do is help…help society, help people, help save lives,” says Michael Wetzel, President and CEO of Air Innovations.

He says most healthcare facilities have only a few true isolation rooms, if any at all, because of the cost and complexity of building them.

The Air Innovations unit is small, portable, and much less expensive than traditional solutions, Wetzel tells NewsChannel 9.

“The ability to flexibly change a room at any point in time to create isolation space we thought was really intriguing,” he says.

The company’s units can easily be moved anywhere in the facility, community, or region where they are needed to convert a standard patient room into an isolation room.

“This technology can save lives. This technology can improve healthcare. This technology can keep people from getting infections all year long, not just during COVID,” Wetzel adds.

The units can create negative pressure rooms, keeping a disease from spreading to others in the facility.

They can also be configured to create positive pressure rooms, to protect the patient from the outside world.

The difference in the two is simply the installation of a piece of duct work.

Wetzel says, “Yes, in the end, you’re a business you’re going to sell a product and it’s going to help the bottom line of your business but if it doesn’t first make sense that it’s saving lives or helping the community than you shouldn’t do it only for the sake of dollars and I think we see that around here.”

Air Innovations already has experience with clean rooms from some other parts of its business. Wetzel says they also built the units using CDC guidelines for isolation rooms.

The biggest product area for the company is a line of wine cooler and humidifier units that Air Innovations sells under the name “Wine Guardian”.

The company also sells products for the semiconductor and aerospace industry as well as cooling units for airport baggage screening machines all over the world.