New Systems Being Installed at NOCHS to Kill Germs in the Air

For months now, we’ve all been more vigilant about cleanliness as we fight COVID-19. But do you ever think about how germs get on surfaces in the first place?

Contaminated droplets in the air ultimately end up on the things you touch. It can take hours for those microscopic particles to settle through the air. This means any efforts to sanitize surfaces are only helpful for a moment in time. It’s like raking leaves…you can clean them all up today, and your yard will be full again tomorrow.

North Ottawa Community Health System has always been extremely focused on infection control due to the nature of our work. During this time of COVID risk, we have upped our game even further. And now we are thrilled to announce that the air itself in the hospital will be cleaner.

We will be installing a two-part technology solution that eliminates viruses in the air before they can fall to a surface. Part one is ionization. Ionization changes the charge of virus particles from positive to negative. This allows them to be drawn to a collector and removed. Part two is ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light kills the virus particles, rendering them harmless. We’re installing a combination of these systems, leveraging each one where it will work best.

We are focusing on areas where infection control matters most for patient safety. The ultraviolet technology will go into each of our Emergency Department patient rooms. The ionization technology will go into the rest of the Emergency Department. It will also go into our inpatient floor (Med/Surg & ICU), surgery and our cardiopulmonary services department. Outside of the hospital itself, we are installing ionization technology in Urgent Care and Heartwood Lodge.

This significant enhancement to health is made possible by community collaboration and support. The ultraviolet system was developed by a Grand Haven company, UV Partners.  UV Partners lived up to its name by partnering with us on pricing. Then the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation offered a community challenge grant. Thanks to gifts from generous donors, we achieved that challenge and raised enough funds to underwrite this important investment in safety.

Joy Gaasch is president of The Chamber Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg. She is also the president of the NOCHS board. Her dual roles give her a unique, birds-eye view of how significant this support is for our community. Joy notes, “This is the kind of collaboration that makes Grand Haven such a great place to live and work. We are fortunate to have a local hospital dedicated to serving lakeshore residents in a time of worldwide pandemic. By the same token, we are also extremely lucky that the entrepreneurial engineers at UV Partners choose to invest in the place they work and live. And we are always grateful to our Community Foundation for investing in critical programs and finding ways to engage the community. Community spirit continues to thrive along the lakeshore. I’m so proud of all the people and organizations who are stepping up to invest in wellness, both now and in the future.”


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