Royal Columbian Hospital announced Wednesday, May 20, that it is enlisting another weapon in its fight against COVID-19: germ-killing robots. (RCH Foundation/Contributed)

‘Germ-killing robots’ to fight COVID-19 at this B.C. hospital

Two robots will use ultraviolet light in intensive care and high acuity units at Royal Columbian Hospital

A hospital in the Lower Mainland has enlisted two “germ-killing robots” as its latest weapons in the fight to keep COVID-19 from transmitting among patients and staff.

Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation announced Wednesday (May 20) that it had acquired two ultraviolet germicidal irradiation robots, which will be used to deep clean and disinfect “hot spots” in the hospital to kill pathogens, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

“The robots are a safe and effective tool to reduce the risk of infection and help keep patients, healthcare providers, staff, and visitors healthy,” said foundation president, Jeff Norris, in a statement.

The two robots will be used in parts of the hospital such as the intensive care and high acuity units, emitting concentrated ultraviolet light to kill any of the virus lingering on surfaces.

The ultraviolet light emitted by the robots also kills other potentially deadly microorganisms including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile), and Candida auris (C. auris).

ALSO READ: Two new pups join Vancouver hospital’s superbug sniffing squad

Ultraviolet light is effective at killing bacteria and viruses because it destroys the molecular bonds that hold their DNA together.

Health officials have said it isn’t clear specifically how long the virus can live on surfaces, but B.C.’s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has said research so far points from hours to days depending on the kind of surface.

Over the past 17 weeks, the New Westminster-based hospital has served as one of B.C.’s primary COVID-19 sites, which means it has been dealing with some of the province’s most critically ill patients.

There are currently five outbreaks declared at hospitals in the province, including in Abbotsford and Maple Ridge, but Royal Columbian is not one of them.

A number of protocols surrounding staff movement, re-organizing wards and creating designated spaces for COVID-19 patients have been implemented in hospitals across the province.

Visitor restrictions are also in place, and all patients get tested for COVID-19 upon being admitted.

WATCH: New COVID-19 testing machine takes load off B.C.’s virologists and labs

On Tuesday (May 19), Henry spoke to the challenges health-care workers faced at Lions Gate Hospital, one of the ongoing medical-facility outbreaks, when it came to determining who had been exposed to the initial case.

In the unfolding of that outbreak being declared, a number of others had been exposed to the the virus before “patient zero” was recognized.

It becomes particular challenging, she added, when patients end up in hospital for other illnesses that make it difficult to recognize the symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

“It speaks to how challenging it is with this virus,” Henry told reporters. “People can be ill with it without recognizing it, particularly early on.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plans released for new outdoor pool in Enderby

City shares plans for pool’s location, cost estimates, design features and more

Vernon ‘schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP: Throne speech shows failures in COVID-19 response

Mel Arnold critical of Trudeau government’s throne speech Wednesday

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

COVID-19 picture ‘much clearer,’ says Interior Health president

As fall routines set in, IH CEO Susan Brown reminds public to be vigilant in preventative practices

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in Okanagan for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Most Read