Northwell Health, New York State's largest healthcare provider with 23 hospitals and nearly 800 outpatient facilities, is minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19 by adopting Envetec 200 from technology platform from Irish-based Technopath Clinical Diagnostics, that safely neutralizes infectious medical waste.
Technopath said that Northwell is the first health system worldwide to implement Technopath's pioneering technology.
"According to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, coronavirus survives on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days,” explained Malcolm Bell, CEO and founder of Technopath. “As Northwell Health significantly ramps up COVID-19 testing to over 1600 samples daily, there is an urgent need to quickly and reliably minimise the risk of spreading disease from infected medical waste.”
The Envetec 200 system is said to simultaneously shred and disinfects infectious medical waste using a patented destruction and disinfection process that kills COVID-19 viruses along with all bacteria, spores and other pathogens that pose a danger to human health.
The technology requires no heat in the process, and no dangerous chemicals emanate from the system at the end of each 20-minute treatment cycle. The resulting confetti-like solid residue is categorised as regular trash, entirely safe to handle, and can be used in a number of waste to energy and other recycling applications.
"For the past several weeks, Northwell has continued to take on the health and safety challenges posed by COVID-19," said Michael Dowling, Northwell president and CEO. "This new technology allows us to remove the unknown risk exposure when disposing of medical waste while avoiding the need for the costly and carbon-inefficient transportation and disposal by third-party handlers. It's a positive light during a unique time."
One of the unknown risk exposures to public health safety from COVID-19 is the treatment and disposal of infectious medical waste. Traditional disposal methods that are widely employed include road-hauling untreated infectious waste from labs and other health care facilities to treatment sites followed by environmentally detrimental thermal treatment and landfilling.
Ramping up Testing
The implementation the Envetec 200 technology comes as Northwell continues to ramp up COVID-19 testing. Northwell Labs is one of 89 public health laboratories in the US testing for the novel coronavirus and recently advanced to fully automated testing capabilities, which allows the health system to test more than 1,600 potential COVID-19 samples daily.
"The Envetec 200 technology exemplifies Northwell's dedication and constant search for the very latest and innovative technologies available in healthcare," said Dwayne Breining, MD, executive director of Northwell Labs. "We have carefully evaluated our options to eliminate any potential risks associated with the new large-scale testing for COVID-19 being performed at Northwell Labs.”
Dr. Breining continued,"We are extremely confident that the Envetec system provides us with the best-in-class technology solution for treating hazardous health care waste at source and also eliminates any unknown risk of infection to the wider community."
Strategic Investment in Manufacturing
Technopath added that it is making strategic investments in manufacturing capacity, commercial operations and employment as markets expand globally for the treatment of infectious medical waste material.
Northwell Labs installed the Envetec 200 technology in late 2019 and has been awaiting regulatory approval, which was fast-tracked on March 13 when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to allow a series of special emergency-measures. Governor Cuomo's executive order accelerated the formal approvals from the US EPA and the New York State Department of Health that had been pending, enabling Northwell to complete the system validation and put the technology to use.
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