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Local

St. Charles company wants to protect first responders during coronavirus pandemic

Offering to use ultraviolet sanitizing technology on their mobile units for free

As a public service, Shaw Media will provide open access to information related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Sign up for the newsletter here

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles-based PetAirapy wants to make sure first responders who are transporting patients diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus) are protected as much as possible.

PetAirapy, which was founded in 2008, is the leading provider of ultraviolet sanitizing technology for the animal care industry. From now until at least May 3, first responders can stop by the company’s headquarters at 3820 Ohio Ave., Suite 9, in St. Charles to have their mobile unit sanitized with UV for free between runs. The process only takes a few minutes.

According to a study published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers concluded the virus could remain airborne up to 3 hours after aerosolization. PetAirapy president and founder Annette Uda noted that while people are being told to wash their hands as a way to protect themselves and to keep their distance from other people, there hasn't been much discussion about the virus being in the air.

"Nobody's thinking about, 'We need to clean the air,' '' Uda said. "We don't always want to look at primary transmission. We have to look at all transmission routes."

The PetAirapy team evaluated the virus and used the company’s proprietary UV genome model to calculate the amount of UV energy needed to quickly kill this particular airborne zoonotic pathogen at a high kill rate.

"COVID-19 is smart," Uda said. "And it is deadly. And it is a virus. The thing with viruses is they cannot survive without a host, a host meaning you and me."

The treatment is chemical-free and based on UV light, so there is no risk to the first responders from PetAirapy’s disinfection of their mobile unit, Uda said. They should first sanitize their mobile unit – following standard surface cleaning protocols – before arriving for UV disinfection.

If possible, first responders are asked to first call PetAirapy at 630-377-0348 when they are on their way to the company. More information is available at PetAirapy's website, petairapy.com.

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