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Wisconsin Tribal Casinos Use Ultra-Violet Light Systems To Help Fight Coronavirus

Technology Helps Sanitize Recirculated Air Inside Casinos

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Wisconsin tribal casinos are using a unique method to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Mole Lake casino and Lodge in Crandon, a property owned by the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, installed an ultra-violet light system in the ventilation ducts to help battle the airborne virus before the air is filtered back into the casino.

According to a report from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the tribe has yet to report a confirmed COVID-19 case on its 4,900-acre reservation. The tribe closed its casino in mid-March and is one of the few tribal properties in the country that still hasn’t reopened.

The system being installed was created by California-based company UltraViolet Devices Inc. A spokesman for the company told the Press-Gazette that the system is very effective at destroying viruses.

“UV-C germicidal lamps are installed inside the HVAC system duct work,” said spokesman Will Gerard. “As the air passes the UV-C light, it kills more than 99% of the virus immediately. The air is recirculated to the HVAC system from the casino space, therefore cleaning the air in the casino.”

Given the nature of the virus, recirculated air in restaurants and casinos were a major concern of public health officials when advising government officials about whether to reopen certain indoor businesses.

The Potawatomi tribe, which owns one of the most popular casinos in the state, and home to a World Series of Poker Circuit stop in Milwaukee, has been using similar systems from the company for nearly a decade. At first, the systems were installed to help eliminate the smell of cigarette smoke, but have since helped prevent the spread of the virus.

“We’re filtering air to the level of a basic surgical suite,” Dave Brien, casino facilities director for the Potawatomi tribe, told the Press-Gazette. “Most systems only filter the outdoor air (coming in), but during a pandemic, it’s the indoor air you want to filter.”

According to Brien, there has yet to be a case of COVID-19 stemming from his casino.

A report from USA Today said that researchers at Columbia University found that UV light killed 99.9 percent of seasonal coronaviruses present in airborne droplets.

At the end of July, JetBlue Airways announced it was using UV light technology to disinfect its aircrafts in between flights.