Local healthcare laundry facility provides essential service in the battle against COVID-19

Local

GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — One essential business you may not necessarily think of right away is laundry service, but imagine being in charge of collecting and disinfecting all of the linens and scrubs from local hospitals during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Well it’s business as usual for the men and women at Century Linen and Uniform in Gloversville.

“We’re in the neighborhood of half a million pounds a week,” said Richard Smith, CEO and Owner of the facility.

Smith said they’re proud to do it.

“These people who work here, I consider them to be heroes,” said Smith.

While there’s heightened awareness with the COVID-19 outbreak, Smith told NEWS10 ABC that employees handling soiled linens have always been equipped with personal protective equipment, or PPE.

“We’ve always treated our healthcare linens as contaminated. They are gloved; they are gowned; they have face masks; they have shields; they have booties,” said Smith.

The employees at the commercial facility work around the clock seven days a week to ensure that everything is thoroughly disinfected.

“Scrub suits and isolation gowns are flying in and out of here. We can barely keep up with those,” said Smith.

“We use hot water: 165 degrees. We use chlorine bleach. We use chemicals from a chemical vendor that are certified by the EPA. We take daily, actually hourly, titrations of the chemical concentrations and temperatures within the washer,” said Smith.

Smith told NEWS10 it’s a state-of-the-art Healthcare Laundry Accredited facility, which requires them to follow strict standard operating procedures to maintain certification.

“We’re the only one in the immediate area that has that certification, and it’s not easy to get,” said Smith. “Without clean linens and garments, the hospitals, urgent care centers and ORs would have a really hard time, if not impossible time, operating.”

Smith explained the process of taking in soiled linens:

“When the linen comes in, it’s in a plastic cart on wheels. The carts are dumped onto a table. The sorters that are gloved and gowned and masked, open the plastic bags one at a time and then they separate the sheets from towels, and pillow cases, under pads, and scrub uniforms. The plastic bag goes into a vacuum tube. Then the soiled material is taken in a sling to dump into the washers.”

Smith also said they sanitize the facility and the trucks every day.

“We just installed an ultraviolet light sanitizer for our trucks and trailers in addition to us cleaning them out with germicides and mopping,” said Smith.

Century Linen and Uniform is also one of the community partners helping out “Heroes Landing” at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany. It’s serving as a temporary respite for healthcare workers from Albany Medical Center and Saint Peter’s Hospital.

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