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

Clinton RCMP seek assistance in Canoe Creek hit and run

A pedestrian was sent to hospital with serious injuries after vehicle failed to stop

Starting small a good rule of a green thumb in gardening

‘Pick easy things to do like potatoes, read the instructions and keep watering’

Gardening tons of fun for Cedar Crest crew

‘This is just excellent for them to get outside’

Pharmacy restricted number of customers in store

Customer safety during the time of COVID-19 has been paramount on all… Continue reading

South Cariboo tourism will be on a different, home-focused scale this year

‘I’m really thinking that we’re going to see a lot of local people and regional people’

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read