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Robots Join the Fight Against COVID in Pennsylvania Hospital

Since mid-October, two ultraviolet-C germ-killing robots have been sanitizing rooms after patients are discharged from the Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale, Pa. The machines destroy 99.9% of the bacteria and spores.

by Robert Tomkavage, The Times-Tribune / November 17, 2020
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(TNS) — Wayne Memorial Hospital is turning to technology to make operations safer.

The environmental services department has been using two ultraviolet-C germ-killing robots since mid October to sanitize rooms after patients are discharged at the Honesdale facility, according to Michelle Miller, manager of environmental services .

The machines destroy 99.9% of the bacteria and spores left in the room, according to manufacturer Tru-D Smart UVC.

Their "patented Sensor360" technology also effectively kills COVID-19 on hard, nonporous surfaces, per the manufacturer.

The machines use UVC light to alter the DNA of microorganisms so the germs can't reproduce.

Many hospitals utilize similar machines to disinfect patient rooms, intensive care units, operating rooms, emergency rooms and long-term care facilities, and Miller feels the robots will serve a critical role in hospital sanitation even after the pandemic ends.

"I've been trying to get one for the last five years and I plan on them being here forever," she said.

Miller said the hospital paid about $179,000 for the two machines.

The robots are programmed to assess a room and set their own cleaning times since employees can't be present due to the risk of severe eye or burn injuries.

John Conte, director of facility services, said the hospital has been using UVC light in its air handling system for years.

Miller added that while a housekeeper will continue cleaning each room, the new robots provide an added sense of security.

"We've always had good infection control numbers in the hospital," she said. "This is just an added safety measure to make it even better."

©2020 The Times-Tribune, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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