A robot with “intense pathogen-killing power” is now on the job at both Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Mission Memorial Hospital.
The two robots are among 14 new ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) robots that have been deployed to hopsitals across the Fraser Health region at a total cost of $2 million.
The robots, designed by Xenex Disinfection Services, emit 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.
The robots were funded in part by donors’ support of their local hospital foundations.
“We are grateful for the generosity of our community,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health, in a news release.
“It is through their support that our UVGI 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.
Housekeeping and clinical staff plan the robots’ schedule. The robots themselves keep an internal time-sheet of where and when they work, and the data is sent to a server so Fraser Health can monitor usage.
The robots don’t work alone, the release continues, explaining that an environmental services 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.