A robot with “intense pathogen killing power” is now on the job at Peace Arch Hospital.
PAH Foundation officials confirmed Tuesday (Dec. 1) that a goal to raise $200,000 – with half of that a $100,000 donation from White Rock’s Manjit Lit and his family – for a LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot was met in time to put the equipment to work during a recent COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
The robot, designed by Xenex Disinfection Services, emits pulses of UV light, which kill harmful bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19, and can disinfect a patient’s room in less than 20 minutes.
Fourteen of the droids – at a total cost of approximately $2 million, funded in part by donors’ support of their local hospital foundations – are being deployed to Fraser Health hospitals this week, the region’s president CEO, Dr. Victoria Lee, announced Tuesday.
“We are grateful for the generosity of our community,” Lee said in a news release.
“It is through their support that our UVGI (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation) program has grown from a pilot project with two robots to a comprehensive program with 16 in just four years.”
“Fraser Health’s two resident UVGI robots are working overtime during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep patients safe by disinfecting rooms and units in acute and community settings where the virus is present,” the release adds.
The robots don’t work alone, the release continues, explaining that an Environmental Services (EVS) operator is at the controls, working with Fraser Health Infection Prevention and Control, housekeeping staff and health care aides using traditional and chemical cleaning methods.
Since UVGI disinfection was introduced in 2016, Fraser Health has seen a reduction in some hospital-acquired infections, such as C. difficile and MRSA, the release adds.
Fraser Health staff have voted to name two of the newcomers ‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry,’ after B.C.’s provincial health officer.
PAHF director of public relations Vicki Brydon said a naming contest for PAH’s newest addition wrapped up Tuesday night. The winning moniker, Zippy, is to be officially announced today (Dec. 2).