St. Luke's uses new technology to protect patients and employees from COVID-19

Posted at 11:30 AM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 14:38:39-04

BOISE, Idaho — St. Luke's Medical Center is using new technology to disinfect and sterilize areas affected by COVID-19.

The device, known as the SteraMist Surface Unit, was invented by the U.S. Defense Department and purchased with money from a special pathogens grant. The SteraMist unit is specifically used in disinfecting and sterilizing Emergency Department isolation, COVID-19 patient rooms and emergency transport vehicles.

The device uses a point-and-spray applicator, which produces a mist that kills a wide variety of pathogens, which include COVID-19. The mist enables the disinfection of surfaces, which include high-touch surfaces and electronics like computers.

"This device is designed as a second-level of disinfection. The technology inside the mist deactivates organisms on contact, so there's shorter chemical dwell time, like with other forms of cleaning," explained Kyle Swanger, St. Luke's Health System's Director of Environmental Services.

Other benefits of the device include preventing new employees from having to touch contaminated surfaces to clean them, which makes drying time quicker and eliminates the need to wipe or rinse surfaces.

Right now, St. Luke's Boise is concentrating on COVID-19 disinfections in the Emergency Department and specific patient isolation rooms but has plans to expand the use in other areas like OR suites and Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) patient rooms.

Air St. Luke's uses a different device with similar technology to clean all ambulances, airplanes, helicopters and Magic Valley Paramedic units. It's called HaloFogger FLX. Air St. Luke's has even used it to help support other local agencies with contamination concerns.