Hall County buildings sterilized

Facilities Director Doone Humphrey shows the electrostatic sprayer used to sterilize Hall County Courthouse and other public spaces of COVID-19 in mere minutes. (The Independent / Brandon Summers)

The coronavirus is being eradicated from Hall County public spaces in mere minutes.

A newly acquired electrostatic sprayer is being used to sterilize Hall County Courthouse and Administration Building in less than an hour each.

The Victory Innovations mist gun uses Bioeqsue broad-spectrum disinfectant. The solution uses a derivative of thyme oil to eliminate viruses and bacteria.

“It sprays out a disinfectant in a mist, and electrically charges it,” said Facilities Director Doone Humphrey. “It’s a positive charge and the tabletops and everything else are a negative charge, so it attracts it.”

Humphrey added, “It will kill the virus in maybe four or five seconds and in 10 minutes you can return to the room.”

Sterilizing is done regularly.

The Hall County Courtroom is usually sterilized between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and the Administration Building is done in the evenings.

“We go in and do the hallways and two of the offices in that building, and any other office that asks to have it done,” Humphrey said.

While it is proven to kill the coronavirus, the effect does not last long.

“If somebody comes in after 10 minutes who is exposed it’s going to be there again,” Humphrey said. “But at least you started out with a clean room.”

The mist gun has been helpful in keeping public spaces clean, he said.

“By the time you wipe it all down, you could spend a couple of hours in a courtroom,” Humphrey said. “I needed something that could do it in a timely manner because of the health situation. We have so many buildings here to watch over. This was the answer.”

It only takes about 45 minutes to clean the courthouse, including its four large courtrooms, restrooms and hallways.

“It gets it done pretty fast with one person,” Humphrey said. “You’re not tying up a lot of people doing it, which is a good thing. You can more effectively use your labor.”

Other procedures for further preventing the spread of the coronavirus are also in place.

Public spaces have social distancing markers and advisory signs, Hall County provides personal protective equipment to employees, and surfaces are wiped down regularly.

“We do have a cleaner that lasts a little longer, leaves a little bit of residual effect,” Humphrey said. “(The sprayer) is mainly just for quick kill.”

Keeping Hall County’s public spaces virus-free has been taxing, he said.

“We’ve had to respond to quite a bit,” Humphrey said. “We’ve had to do a lot of research in a hurry to find out what works and what doesn’t, what people are using. We’ve had to train employees how to use the chemicals because they need to be able to sanitize their own areas.”

Hall County was ready, though, by the time its buildings were reopened to the public.

“We tried to get a lot of it down prior because we knew we were going to reopen sometime, but you have so much going on here that even when we were closed down, there was a lot of things going on,” Humphrey said. “But we got it and we’re opening.”

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