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New Zealand Hospital Deploys UV-C Technology to Fight COVID-19

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For more than 40 years, ultraviolet-C (UV-C) radiation has been widely utilised as a disinfectant. The newest in UV-C lighting technology has been installed at Dunedin Hospital in what is claimed to be a New Zealand first, following research confirming its effectiveness in inactivating the COVID-19 virus.

Patients with COVID-19 from the southern region will be treated at Dunedin Hospital, and an infectious disease physician has overseen the installation of the hospital’s first set of 20 UV-C ‘upper air disinfection devices.’ These have been placed in the emergency room and the respiratory ward to assist the hospital in preparing for COVID-positive patients. As needed, more units will be deployed at other Southern DHB facilities.

“UV-C lights offer an efficient, cost-effective solution for improving the air disinfection, particularly when you’re working with ageing infrastructure,” he says. When compared to the effort required to enhance mechanical ventilation systems, they are quite simple to retrofit.

Dunedin Hospital’s respiratory ward contains five negative pressure chambers, and other rooms in the ward must be upgraded to be ready for when the virus advances south. UV-C lamps are one of several technologies that the SDHB is putting in place to increase air disinfection in clinical settings, which will be necessary to manage COVID-19.

In an Emergency Department observation unit as well as five four-bedded rooms in the respiratory ward at Dunedin Hospital, wall-mounted UV-C light is now directed over the ceiling space in readiness for the hospital to receive COVID-positive patients.

While the usual hospital ventilation system circulates the air, exposing the virus to the UV-C, the UV-C light neutralises the virus in the air at the top of the room. Underneath, employees can continue to work in a safe environment. According to the physician, the technology is used in over 1,500 hospitals in South Africa for tuberculosis management, and it has recently been demonstrated to be particularly efficient against coronavirus.

Upper air UV-C has been shown to be more effective than natural or mechanical ventilation in removing pathogens such as SARS-Cov-2 from the air in most indoor conditions. The method, which has been tested over many years, is reported to be effective for disinfecting air, water, and surfaces.

Ultimately, the UV-C disinfection solutions will be installed in schools, universities, supermarkets, gyms, and hospitals in other countries, and the company is glad to be helping to safeguard people in New Zealand from COVID-19.

OpenGov Asia reported the New Zealand Aviation Security Service and the COVID-19 Detection company have announced the completion of the deployment of 18 units of the new Ultraviolet (UV) light tray disinfection kits to help improve public health and safety at airports across the country.

Independent laboratory tests have shown that the UV disinfection kits eliminate up to 99.9% of microorganisms – including coronaviruses – found on trays at checkpoints, and they have been installed at Auckland (six units), Wellington (four units), Christchurch International Airports (six units) and Dunedin Airport (two units). UVC radiation is a known disinfectant for air, water, and nonporous surfaces. UVC radiation has effectively been used for decades to reduce the spread of bacteria, such as tuberculosis, or even now for COVID-19.

The UV kit uses short-wavelength UV light (UVC), commonly used for disinfection in healthcare and industrial production to distort the structure of the genetic material and prevent the viral particles from multiplying or infecting. The kits are shielded with robust metal housing to ensure that passengers and staff are not exposed to UV light.

“New Zealand Aviation Security Service came to the covid Detection system company with the challenge of fighting against COVID-19 transmission risks in aviation. New Zealand’s UVC technology at checkpoints helps provide a high level of reassurance to passengers as well as airport staff. I hope we can take our experience to other airports in the region which are going through similar challenges and restore confidence in travelling.” said the Managing Director of the detection system company.

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