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Enlisting robots in the fight against Coronavirus

Enlisting robots in the fight against Coronavirus

May 19, 2020

Burnaby Hospital Foundation is raising funds towards the purchase of an additional Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) robot for use in Burnaby Hospital. UVGI robots use ultraviolet light to disinfect and kill viruses and bacteria—reducing exposure risks for both patients and hospital staff. They emit concentrated UV-C light as they navigate a room—removing 99.99 per cent of airborne viruses and bacteria from the room’s surfaces.

Fraser Health is home to some of the most problematic pathogens in British Columbia, and deploying UVGI robots is an essential part of the strategy for containing them.

Fraser Health currently rents two UVGI robots that are shared across acute care facilities to reduce the rate of healthcare associated infections. Primarily used to sanitize vulnerable units and manage outbreaks, the robots are effective at killing most pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenemase-producing organisms (CPO), Clostridioides difficile (CDI), Candida auris and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

Demand for the robots has been extremely high since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with deep cleaning and disinfection required to decommission COVID-19 rooms and units before they can be safely re-opened to non-infected patients.

As our province, country and the rest of the world, continues to grapple with the formidable COVID-19 virus, Fraser Health is recommending that a strong UVGI program be established across the region to support site-based deep cleaning and disinfection of “hot spots”. Given the size of Burnaby Hospital and the complexity of pathogens present, two UVGI robots are recommended for our facility. The units cost approximately $145,000 CAD. 

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