By January 2022, Dunedin Hospital had installed around 20 UV-C lights in their respiratory wards and their emergency department observation rooms, with more on the way.
Dr Arnold considers the lights to be an important ‘layer’ in the hospital’s defence against COVID-19 transmission, along with portable HEPA filters with U-VC, PPE and social distancing protocol.
“It’s reassuring to know the air is being continuously sterilised all the time. That being said, UV-C will not block close range transmission. If I had COVID, and I came and coughed directly in your face, the particles haven’t had a chance to float up into the upper room and get sterilised. So the only thing that prevents that is mask use and social distancing, etc. There’s no one solution.
“We always hedge our bets in infection control. We rely on multiple barriers of protection. And so in the rooms that we have got UV-C lights, we’ve also put in a portable HEPA filter (air purifiers) with U-VC as well. In many ways that’s reassuring, in case the bulb blew in the light and no one noticed – well at least we’ve got a portable HEPA filter with U-VC going as well. Or if someone turned the HEPA filter off – at least we’ve got the UV-C light going. So the two work hand in hand quite nicely. And the HEPA filter also helps stir up the air so it rises into the UV-C kill zone.”
UV-C lights are completely silent and require minimal maintenance – just a light bulb change once a year.
The arrival of Omicron has strengthened the case for UV-C lights even further as it’s almost impossible to distinguish who is infected and who’s not, and keep them separate within the hospital. “We simply won’t be able to identify everyone at the front door,” Dr Arnold acknowledges.
“Part of living with COVID is to improve the sterilisation of air throughout the whole hospital so at least we’ve mitigated the risk of further transmission as much as we possibly can.”
To find out more about our UV-C solutions, visit cubro.co.nz/uvc