WILLMAR — Carris Health has invested in some extra muscle to keep Rice Memorial Hospital safe and clean for both patients and staff.

The health care provider purchased a UVDI-360 Room Sanitizer, that uses ultraviolet-C rays to disinfect patient rooms and other Emergency Department areas following regular cleaning and sanitizing.

The machine, that will be rolled from place to place, uses a light that can be extended 360 degrees to emit the rays in a 8-foot radius. It can kill pathogens, such as coronavirus and others that cause health care-associated infections, in five minutes.

“When all elective patient procedures and surgeries at our Carris Health Surgery Center were closed in March due to COVID-19, we had the opportunity to borrow their UV-C light for use in the hospital,” said June Boie, director of emergency services for Carris Health, in a news release announcing the purchase. “When they resumed surgeries in July, we returned the ultraviolet light, and expressed to our incident command team that it would be beneficial to have this technology for permanent use in the Emergency Department.”

The Carris Health Foundation donated to the purchase, in partnership with Rotary District 5950 and Rotary Clubs in Willmar, Redwood Falls and Minnetonka.

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"Patient safety is a top priority during this time — and truly any time,” added Boie. “Incorporating the UV-C light into our cleaning and disinfecting protocols gives patients and employees as much peace of mind as possible knowing the device is proven effective against coronavirus and highest-risk pathogens and helps protect our patient environments.”