Sentara Williamsburg using copper to fight infection 

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. – Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center is using a chemical element to keep patients safe.

The hospital is in the process of doing a complete roll-out of copper infused hard surfaces and linens to reduce healthcare-associated infections.

“A common infection we all see is C. difficile and C. difficile can be transmitted upon a hand shake or poor hand washing," Donna Wilmoth, Sentara Williamsburg's Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive, said.

According to the CDC, healthcare associated infections affect 5 to 10 percent of hospitalized patients in the Untied States each year.

“Patients, when they come into a hospital – their immune systems is lower because they are working through some type of illness so the opportunity to acquire an infection us much higher," Wilmoth said.

The roll-out comes after a 10-month trial at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk.

The trial showed an 83 percent reduction in C-difficile and a 78% overall reduction in multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) including C-diff, MRSA and VRE in a clinical environment.

EOS Surfaces is providing the hospital with the material.

They say copper kills off bacteria within two hours.

The copper items were installed in 124 patient rooms in the East Tower at Sentara Leigh.

Sentara will add copper-infused hard products like bedside tables and bed rails in all patient rooms in all 12 Sentara hospitals.

SWRMC will be implementing their new bedding and equipment to their 145 rooms by next week.