CHI St. Alexius is adding a new tool to its belt in the fight against COVID-19.

The hospital is now offering respiratory helmets for patients suffering from acute respiratory distress.

The airtight design allows patients with low oxygen levels to receive treatment in a more comfortable setting.

The medical director says it will prevent patients from being hooked up to a ventilator.

“The hope is we can use it to prevent progression to mechanical ventilation which would be having the tube down the throat and having a machine breathe for you. The hope is this gives us another tool to prevent that from happening to folks who have COVID-19 and potentially adult respiratory distress syndrome,” said J’Patrick Fahn, medical director for CHI St. Alexius.

The helmets will be used for patients in intensive care because they need to be closely monitored while inside the device.