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How environmental services teams help keep hospitals safe during COVID

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT|Updated: 12 hours ago
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Some people fear hospitals are dangerous places because of COVID, but the Rutland Regional Medical Center says thanks to their environmental services team, this is actually one of the safest places in the community.

“We need everyone to understand that the hospital is safe. We will take care of you; that’s our job,” said Jean Ray, the hospital’s environmental services training and development coordinator.

Ray’s environmental services team is made up of 50 members. They’re responsible for cleaning and disinfecting the entire building every day.

Ray says COVID was initially daunting for everyone in health care but her EVS team focused on what they do best.

“Did we need enhanced protocols? Absolutely,” she said.

In the fall of 2019, the hospital bought an electrostatic spraying disinfecting system.

In February 2020, as the hospital watched what was happening with the coronavirus worldwide, it purchased six more machines.

“I actually enjoy using it,” Alyssa Ruiter said.

“So do I,” agreed Charlene Vouzianis.

Ruiter and Vouzianis are EVS technicians who both use the electrostatic system, which disinfects unreachable surfaces and protects the EVS team before they clean some surfaces by hand.

“It makes me feel a little more safe because with that machine you know you’re spraying it right off,” Ruiter said.

Vouzianis says the pandemic has added stress at work, but she puts it aside and focuses on the importance of her job.

“We are actually helping in keeping these numbers low, this is our job. So it’s very, very rewarding, very proud to be part of the EVS team,” Vouzianis said.

And the machines appear to be a permanent addition to the EVS tool belt.

“COVID is not the only emerging pathogen. There is always something new coming out every single day,” Ray said.

Ray is beyond proud of her team, saying they are the front-line workers behind the scenes.

“We’re the foundation, we hold everybody up,” she said. “We have to... it’s our job.”

To top it off, this is also national EVS week, a time to celebrate all of these people who have been working so hard to keep our communities safe.

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