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Robots kill coronavirus at Napa's Queen of the Valley

From the Coronavirus roundup from the Napa Valley Register, St. Helena Star, and The Weekly Calistogan series
  • Updated

In this 2017 photo, former Queen of the Valley Medical Center Environmental Supervisor Harold Young explains how this Xenex robot uses ultraviolet C light which penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus and spores. 

After raising more than $100,000 from donors, Queen of the Valley Foundation has purchased a second robot to kill pathogens like the coronavirus in patient areas at Napa’s Queen of the Valley Medical Center.

The Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot is known for eradicating deadly pathogens in less than five minutes and can disinfect an entire patient room in approximately 15 minutes, said a news release from the foundation.

Xenex Disinfection Services recently announced that its LightStrike pulsed xenon disinfection robot is the first and only ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology proven to deactivate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

In testing performed at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the LightStrike disinfection robot destroyed the virus in two minutes.

“The coronavirus pandemic has increased awareness of disease transmission and the importance of infection prevention, which is why we are grateful to have the LightStrike robots to help disinfect our facility,” said epidemiologist Gianna Peralta, infection prevention manager at the Queen.

“The robots are able to quickly disinfect high-touch surfaces where pathogens can linger (bed rails, tray tables, nurse call buttons, grab bars, wheelchairs, etc.)”

Xenex LightStrike robots emit intense bursts of pulsed xenon ultraviolet light that penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms and causes irreparable damage, said the release.

The portable devices are effective against viruses, bacteria and spores.

In addition to SARS-CoV-2, these include Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus (considered a surrogate virus for COVID-19 by the EPA), Clostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, influenza, Ebola and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

“The safety of our caregivers and patients is our top priority,” said Larry Coomes, chief executive at Queen of the Valley.

The Queen’s first Xenex robot was purchased in 2015 and was quickly nicknamed QVR2 by hospital employees because of its shape.

Operated by the hospital’s environmental services team, the hospital has used this technology to supplement the terminal cleaning process for the past several years.

The robot is the size of a large vacuum cleaner and is on wheels. It can be used in any department and in any unit within the hospital, including isolation rooms, operating rooms, general patient care rooms, contact precaution areas, emergency rooms, restrooms and public spaces.

Complete coronavirus coverage from the Napa Valley Register, St. Helena Star, and The Weekly Calistogan

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