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Virus zapping robot gets trial use by El Paso County, judge may buy it for $150K

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego has endorsed the purchase of a $150,000 germ killing robot as a means to help keep government facilities safe and get employees back to work.

The county may soon be acquiring an important new tool in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

"I think we could qualify for CARES Act Funding for that," said Samaniego. "That would be a good investment, I really believe that would be an amazing investment."

The robots are produced by a San Antonio-based company called Xenex and have already had several orders commissioned by the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and the NFL's Carolina Panthers.

“It destroys those germs in just two minutes," said robot technician Steve Janes. "So we can go from room to room anytime there is a person infected and people will be able to get back to work in that office almost without delay."

The robots emit a series of UVC bursts, strong enough to go through the air and destroy harmful germs, especially those that carry Covid-19.

In those robots, Samaniego sees a tool that could be well used in the post-Covid-19 world as well.

“I do believe we are predicting that this virus could exist in different strains and things could happen later on because of the way the world is," Samaniego said. "We all saw how fast it went from China  to the United States and how fast it spread.”

The robots have an overall working life of about five years and could potentially help allow more people to return to work in some of offices that have now been empty for months.

As several of the germ-zapping robots are currently on loan to El Paso County for a few days from Xenex Disinfecting Services, they are being used to do sweeps of the County Courthouse, Juvenile Probation Department, Ascarate Park and the County Attorney offices.

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Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon is a former ABC-7 reporter who co-anchored Good Morning El Paso weekends.


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