25 February 2020

Isolation Ward of the Salt Lake County Hospital was a Scientific Building

Isolation Ward at the Salt Lake County Hospital. 
From The Salt Lake Tribune Feb 26 1920.

Today in History. 100 years ago, Wed Feb 25 1920, Salt Lake County was able to declare the 1919-1920 flu season over and it closed the isolation hospital for the season.

The isolation ward of the Salt Lake County Hospital was originally constructed in 1917 to treat scarlet fever. It was located to the rear of the main County Hospital building at 2100 S. State Street (now where the Salt Lake County Government Complex is situated). Future plans called for other isolation wards to be built to treat diphtheria, measles, and smallpox. But these were never constructed.

The building was entirely scientifically modern for the time. It was one story high with a special composition roof of colonial design. The building materials were concrete and tile so that it could easily be washed out with a disinfectant hose every day. The floors were constructed of enamel and concrete and were without corners so that dirt could not accumulate. The furnishings were also entirely of metal. One nice feature, a sun porch was built into the design to allow for patients to receive fresh air.

The isolation ward was renovated in 1919 in anticipation of the flu season - the first flu season following the deadly Spanish Flu global pandemic. One of the new innovations of the 1919 renovation were the screens that were put in the wards to separate the patients, an idea adopted from U.S. Army hospitals.

The first patient of the season was received December 26, 1919 and there were an average of 50 cases of influenza and 9 cases of pneumonia treated each week. The local newspaper praised the healthcare workers for their diligence and efficiency in preventing another pandemic.

Sources: Deseret Evening News Dec 22 1917 & Salt Lake Tribune Feb 26 1920, p20.

Isolation Ward at the Salt Lake County Hospital. 
From The Salt Lake Tribune Feb 26 1920

Sanborn Map 1950

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