Quarantine Updates for a Growing Population
The Martian Health System is re-evaluating their public health protocols and doubling the number of quarantine facilities in order to accommodate the increasing number of settlers on the Red Planet. Despite the success of the Martian Health Model and the abundance of private medical research labs on Mars, the current number of hospitals and medical facilities simply cannot accommodate the growing settler population—twelve hospitals are currently under construction, with five more planned by 2050.
Martian health facilities often incorporate a hospital, pharmacy, and physical therapy/rehabilitation center, all in one unit. Most hospitals on Mars do not have an emergency unit, as physical emergencies that require unscheduled medical attention are a rare occurrence. The expansion of these facilities is a top priority, as the Martian Health System prepares for an influx of settlers who will arrive during next Mars Shuttle window in 2046.
Using many protocols from the Apollo program on Earth, quarantine facilities were first developed for early Martian explorers and scientists two decades ago. Early ports-of-entry were designed to prevent interplanetary contamination through an initial quarantine of space travelers; however, the possibility of a back-contamination risk has been reduced since the start of Martian commercial colonization efforts in 2040.
Many of these older decontamination units have been used as quarantine facilities in order to prevent the spread of deadly, contagious diseases. Due to the enclosed, subterranean living environments on Mars, the threat of a contagious illness affecting a significant portion of the Martian population is very high. Once a settler is diagnosed with a contagious disease, the ailing individual is usually placed under quarantine. Since 2040, there have been no serious disease outbreaks on Mars.
Exposition. In order to prevent the spread of disease, all Martians are mandated to use several health monitoring devices throughout their time on the Red Planet. This includes active fitness trackers, blood pressure/oxygenation monitors, and a once-a-day pathogen breathalyzer—a device that can detect over 50 diseases simply by scanning an individual’s breath.
Despite a Martian population that is, on average, healthier than humans on Earth, a viral outbreak remains to be one of the greatest threats to the Martian population. Everything from influenza to a super-disease has the potential to cripple the population.
MHM Physician-in-Chief Dr. Jamal Perkins states “although we have not yet experienced any serious health threats on Mars, we must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. I do believe that quarantine protocols and facilities should be updated and established to ensure that our small, but growing, population remains healthy.”
Eight sols ago, the physician-board for the Martian Health System submitted several budget proposals and amendments to the existing quarantine protocols, stating that “changes are essential to support the growing Martian population.” One of the primary proposals is to create a separate State of Health review board—made up of seven physicians—which debates and determines whether or not a sick individual goes into quarantine. This same review board is responsible for determining the length of stay and scheduling the release of a rehabilitated individual. In addition, the MHM states that quarantine facilities must be built into every new hospital and existing facilities must be updated with comfort-oriented appointments, such as a personal fitness room and virtual reality space.
The new quarantine budget proposals will go up for a Direct-Vote by the Martian population in 20 Sols.