EDRO answers the call to battle against Covid-19 on hospital ship USNS Comfort

30 April 2020

When the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived at New York City Harbor’s Pier 90 on 30 March, hundreds of people momentarily forgot about social distancing and stood shoulder-to-shoulder to witness its arrival. The Comfort – a beacon of hope for a beleaguered city – arrived in port to give surge capacity to an overwhelmed hospital system as it reeled under pressure from the global Coronavirus pandemic.

The Comfort is a converted supertanker used by the US Navy as a floating medical facility to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. It can sustain up to 2,000 people - crew and patients. Before steaming into New York, some of its prior postings had taken it to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and to New York City in 2001 to treat people injured in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

At its core are 12 operating rooms and 1,000 beds to support the numerous levels of care required. It is also home to a dental clinic, four X-ray machines, a CT scanner, two oxygen-producing plants, an optometry lab, and coolers to hold 5,000 units of blood. Other onboard services include a satellite lab, a central area for sterile casualty receiving, a medical supply depot, a well-stocked pharmacy, and a morgue.

One area of military vessels that people never give a lot of thought to, if at all, is the all-important laundry room where the ship’s crew launders everything from bed linens through to PPE equipment such as scrubs and facemasks.

“As a tier-one laundry equipment supplier to the United States Defense Department, several of EDRO’s ‘Battleship Quality’ washer-extractors are currently onboard the USNS Comfort assisting the staff in maintaining a hygienically clean environment,” said EDRO’s managing director Scott Kirejczyk.

Driving the beating heart of the Comfort’s laundry room are four 150lb and two 60lb washer-extractors, partnered with five 110lb and two 75lb tumbler dryers manufactured by the EDRO Corporation’s dedicated workforce in East Berlin, Connecticut.

The EDRO Corporation is currently developing its latest range of washer-extractors for the US Navy equipped with its proprietary DynOzone disinfecting and sanitizing system as standard equipment. The DynOzone system offers improved germicidal and bacterial cleaning properties to improve sterilization and disinfection of linens.

“Ozone has been considered one of nature’s most efficient virus killers for more than a century,” said Kirejczyk. “Our DynOzone disinfecting and sanitising system utilises UV radiation to create germicidal and oxidising ozone. When this is added to cold water, they merge to become a powerful mixture which is then injected into the washtub to deactivate and destroy the harmful microorganisms that live in clothing and fabrics. A bonus of the DynOzone system is that because of its cleaning properties, every machine is automatically sanitised during use.

“All of EDRO’s employees are extremely proud and honoured to be associated with the nation’s efforts to help those with critical needs at this time,” said Kirejczyk. “EDRO has been proudly supporting our military forces for three generations and as a family owned business, our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those families affected by this tragic health crisis,” stated Kirejczyk.

• LCNi will be delving further into this story in the July/August summer issue

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