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)

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

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

North Island Gazette file photo of Port McNeill council.
Port McNeill average priced home to pay $12 more in taxes

Residential property taxes in Port McNeill are going up

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Opening ceremony in remembrance of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Day hosted by Quatsino First Nation. (Quatsino First Nation Facebook video screenshot)
VIDEO: Quatsino First Nation goes live for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Day

May 5 is when the message behind all the red dresses hanging comes into sharpest focus

North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council.
Port Hardy council to send RCMP officer a letter of congratulations

Mayor Dennis Dugas said Corp. Chris Voller ‘obviously earned it and he did a great job up here’

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read