Robots are busy working to disinfect patient rooms in hospitals across western Massachusetts.
The 'Xenex' germ-zapping robot may have a resemblance to R2-D2 at first glance, but the hospital said with flu season at its worst, this robot can make all the difference.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton has four of these robots. Each come with a unique name and the important task of taking out 99.9 percent of germs.
"Inside of here are a bunch of ultraviolet lights. And that penetrates out, and zaps the germs throughout the entire room," said Brandon Stacy, Environmental Services at Cooley Dickenson Hospital.
Stacy has many roles in the hospital which includes operating the robots.
He tells us the robot has been around for 7 years, has a 14-foot radius and cleans a room in about 5 minutes. It's used in operating rooms and patient rooms, but only after people are out.
"You can see here where it says 'room state standard', or an 'isolation' room. That would be like someone with the flu," Stacy said.
A room is cleaned by hospital staff per usual, but you can't see germs and may miss a spot by accident. That is when the zapping begins.
"A regular patient room, with one bed, you would zap on this side of the bed, this side of the bed, then in the bathroom.”
Cooley Dickinson was the first hospital in the Northeast to use the robots but it's not the only one now. Baystate Medical Center has one too.
Infection Prevention Coordinator, Linda Riley, tells us the hospital has had more flu admissions this year than any other year on record and while the robot won't change the number coming in, it’s preventing the flu from spreading.
“It reduces the potential for people to get hospital infections," Riley said.
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