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

Barriere RCMP hit the trail with BC Conservation Officer Service

Barriere RCMP Detachment Commander, Cpl. Robert Welsman, says he took to back… Continue reading

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

Fall Fair group and Barriere Lions Club teaming up for ‘Pancakes & Cowboy Church’

Due to COVID-19 social distancing regulations numerous community events have had to… Continue reading

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

Most Read