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Report Addresses UV Technology in Fighting Coronavirus


By Dan Hounsell Maintenance & Operations

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many managers in institutional and commercial buildings for a loop. They have had to curtail or cease operations, close partially or entirely, and take steps to clean and sanitize entryways, restrooms and workspaces to prevent the spread of the coronavirus -- all in the space of a few days, in many cases.

In the process, managers have had to sort through a swirl of recommended strategies, suggested best practices and technology claims in an effort to find the most effective measures for their facilities. One such set of claims involves the use of germicidal ultraviolet light (GUV.)

In response to a wave of seemingly conflicting statements and opinions about the disinfection capabilities and safety of GUV,  the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) recently issued a report explaining GUV disinfection and its potential to safely reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

The report provides answers to frequently asked questions about GUV, drawing from expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Harvard Medical School, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and from germicidal UV manufacturing and research organizations.

Written to help protect healthcare workers and patients, the free download is available on the IES website with an accompanying tutorial video explaining germicidal UV technology, its application, and safety considerations.

GUV can be deployed to disinfect air in occupied hospital spaces such as waiting rooms, intensive care units and operating rooms. In unoccupied controlled-access environments, GUV can be used as a supplemental measure to disinfect room surfaces and reduce the spread of healthcare-associated infections.

Germicidal UV is also being applied for disinfection of some personal protective equipment (PPE) for limited reuse during the pandemic. The FAQs emphasize the need for GUV to be applied correctly and monitored for output and safety, and that training on the operation and maintenance of the systems over time is also important.

Dan Hounsell is Editor-in-Chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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