Robots helping Avera Health clean


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With the threat of COVID-19, many businesses are cleaning more than ever before.

Avera Health is using various tactics keeping its hospitals clean.

Avera Health is doing a lot to make sure staff and patients are safe when they enter the building.
Staff members, like surgical tech Nicole Mayer, are hard at work cleaning the building daily, but it’s not just people in charge of cleaning.

“It has its own mask. It’s kind of your friend, you talk to it all day,” Nicole Mayer said.

Meet Xena, one of two ultraviolet robots at Avera Health.

“Occasionally if you’re walking through a unit, you’ll see some intense light bursts. And that is Xena doing her job in patient care rooms our COVID rooms, locker rooms, lounges, cafeteria, our NICU ward. She’s all over,” Sandy King said.

Sandy King, the director of operative services at Avera Health, says the UV light combined with xenon gas provides a disinfection that is 99.9% effective at killing viruses such as the coronavirus.

Avera has been using Xenex technology to keep the hospital clean since 2014.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the use of this cleaning robot started expanding from just operating rooms to all over the hospital.

“So this is an added layer of protection that is provided after that manual disinfection takes place,” King said.

The technology works so well that the healthcare system implemented permanent overhead UV light in operating rooms.

The blue light in this room is the same concept as the Xenex technology, which is continuously cleaning as patients and doctors are in the room.

The overhead lighting has two modes, a lower mode with a white-ish light setting that you’re used to seeing– and the other, a blue mode for high level disinfection.

“So if you’re a patient in our operating rooms, you’re in an environment that is continually being disinfected,” King said.

So if you’re wondering how Avera is keeping things clean, King says look to the light.

For more information on how the Xenex technology works, click here.

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