EAST LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The State of Massachusetts is inching closer and closer to reopening - after the extended coronavirus shutdown.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be crucial - especially as people make their way back to public places like restaurants.

Western Mass News looked into how a local hand drying company has developed a mobile hand drying unit to help filter the air.

Excel Dryer in East Longmeadow manufactures hand dryers - an important tool at a time when hand washing has become a number one defense against the spread of COVID-19.

"Now more than ever, it's critical. The CDC, the World Health Organization lists proper hand hygiene is the top defense against the spread of germs like the coronavirus," said Excel Dryer's vice president for sales and marketing, William Gagnon.

Gagnon also said while there has been a strong emphasis on handwashing - people are forgetting the critical second part of the process.

"You hear today on the news all the time about proper handwashing and wash for 20 seconds but nobody talks about hand drying," Gagnon explained.

After developing a bacteria killer called "HEPA-filtration" years ago - now used in hand dryers - Gagnon told Western Mass News, they wanted to test and see if this same product could help kill viruses' like COVID-19.

"They put 380 million viruses' through the XLERATOR® HEPA-filtration" system and none made it through to the other side," Gagnon explained.

While the "HEPA-filter" can be installed in hand dryers like this one, it's also available on wheels.

"Retailers are looking to bring hand hygiene to outside the restroom, to the front of the store, you can wash your hands when you walk in or when you walk out if you want," Gagnon said.

The filtration system is currently being used at The Big E coronavirus testing site but can be used in other public places as well.

"The new mobile station we created brings touch-less hand drying outside the restroom, to the front lines or wherever it's needed," Gagnon said.

Looking ahead to the next big thing on the market - Gagnon told us it's the integrated sink system.

"That is a fully touch-less system that allows you to use soap, water, and a hand dryer, all at the sink base, and achieve touch-less proper hand hygiene," Gagnon said.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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