Germicidal UV (GUV) lights inactivate bacteria and viruses like SARS-CoV-2. Used in hospitals, offices, schools and healthcare facilities, it is the quickest and safest way to disinfect.
But, is it right for you?
While it is completely safe to be in the room while an upper-air GUV system is running, occupants should never be in the room while a direct-view UV-C fixture is in operation.
A direct flash of UV-C light won’t do permanent damage, but prolonged exposure may cause temporary erythema or photokeratitis.
To keep occupants out of harm's way, UV-C pushcarts should only be operated safely by trained staff, and hard-wired systems should be automated so that the disinfection cycle doesn’t start until the room is confirmed to be unoccupied.
Advanced, automated disinfection systems have been present in the healthcare market long before COVID-19 to combat Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs).
To put it simply, HAIs are a big deal. Pathogens like MRSA, Norovirus, and C. diff can live on surfaces anywhere from a few days, to a few years in some cases. Manual cleaning methods are proven to not be effective enough on their own, due to a variety of factors including quick room turnover, lack of staff training and human error.
There are an estimated 720,000 HAIs each year, causing patients to spend more time in the hospital for an illness they didn’t initially have, and they potentially open the doors to legal liability.
To combat HAIs, healthcare facilities are adding GUV systems to their line of defense. A study by the Duke University School of Medicine and the UNC School of Medicine researched the effectiveness of adding GUV to traditional cleaners, like bleach and Quat.
By adding UV, the researchers found a significant reduction in pathogens. With the combination of Quat and UV, there was a 94% reduction in pathogens, which led to a 35% reduction in infection rate.
It’s no wonder why many hospitals have invested in GUV pushcarts, hard installed GUV systems, or near-UV 405 nm solutions to decrease their costs and prevent further disease.
Cost savings aren't limited to healthcare facilities, take the corporate office for example.
The CDC estimates that illness costs employers $1,685 per employee, per year, every year, and this number is based on absenteeism alone. Before the current pandemic, many employers considered that an unfortunate cost of doing business, life happens!
However, what if that costly number could be curbed, even during a pandemic?
Since we saw a 60% reduction in the infection rate in the Germantown Friends School between non-immune students while utilizing a GUV disinfection system, let’s assume that number is correct.
Reducing sickness by just 60% could result in yearly financial savings of over $1,000 per employee.
Of course, the value is exponentially higher during a pandemic.