Biloxi VA uses robot cleaner to disinfect rooms

Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 6:32 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It looks like a tanning bed for a hospital room but instead of warming your skin, it’s killing viruses, including the novel coronavirus.

The Total Room Ultraviolet Disinfectant, better known as TRU-D, bears a vague resemblance to Rosie, the cleaning robot from The Jetsons.

“It’s a great asset for us,” said Dennis Hughes, housekeeping supervisor at the Biloxi Veterans Affairs Hospital. “It helps us speed up the process and turn rooms back over to the nurses so they can put patients in rooms.

The hospital has a two-stage cleaning process for patient rooms. The first is cleaning, and the second is disinfecting. The ultraviolet radiation emitted by the device disinfects, by breaking the molecular bonds that hold together the DNA of viruses. It can also reach into every nook and cranny of a room, making it more efficient than a human.

“It eliminates the possibility of human error, because you could miss something, and the machine will catch it all,” Hughes said.

However, that doesn’t mean the VA will no longer need cleaning crews.

“It does not replace the normal house keeping, the manual house keeping, because we have a two step cleaning process,” said Hughes. “We go in and we clean first, then we go in and disinfect. This is in addition to what we have already been doing.”

The Biloxi VA has been using two of the machines to disinfect rooms since December, and even with the price tag of $87,000 each, it has saved them hundreds of man-hours, which means saving money.

They also have two more that are being used at the VA in Pensacola. The device emits high UV radiation levels that become unsafe for humans, but that’s not a problem. After setting up the machine, the housekeeper can move on to cleaning the next room.

There are a number of hand-held UV cleaning devices on the market, but consumer groups caution that most don’t deliver what they promise because they emit such low levels of UV light. However, they are safe for humans, but can not kill viruses.

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