This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is taking measures to control pathogens inside the state’s veterans homes.

The four state veterans homes across Alabama, including Floyd E. Tut Fann in Huntsville, have installed new technology called Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization systems.

The ionization system is intended to reduce airborne pathogens when added to HVAC systems. The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs is hopeful this will help them fight COVID-19 in their state homes.

The system is not a change that employees or residents at Floyd E. Tut Fann state veterans home can see.

“It’s all internally in the HVAC system. You would not know that it’s functioning,” says Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Kent Davis.

The newly installed ionization systems work to clean the air, reducing the volume of infectious pathogens such as airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses.

“This is not only good for COVID-19 but any airborne pathogen so we are hoping it helps with the annual flu outbreak or any other airborne pathogen,” says Davis.

The system is an active process that provides continuous disinfection and air filtration efficiency without introducing harmful products into the ventilation system.

“We finished instillations in all four of our state veterans homes in late December and they’ve been operating for almost a month and a half now,” says Davis.

The systems were paid for with federal CARES Act funding. The total cost for installation at the four facilities was $600,000.

“When we’re talking about the health and safety of our precious residents, that’s a minuscule investment and it’s part of our multi-pronged effort to attack this virus,” says Davis.

The homes not only installed ionization systems but continue to administer the COVID-19 vaccine and implement monoclonal antibody infusion treatment for those with COVID-19.

“We have recently seen infection rates going down. It’s a little early to conclude that it’s a direct causation from all of those measures but we’re hoping we see that trend continue and that using all of these tools, we are finally going to defeat this virus, at least in our state veterans’ homes,” says Davis.

Davis says the homes have also implemented portable ultraviolet lighting systems for use in spaces that might not get air circulation, such as elevators. Like the ionization system, the UV systems are also used to remove pathogens.