NORTH CANTON, Ohio (WJW)– The presidential election of 2020 will partially be defined by the coronavirus pandemic and cities like North Canton are making extra preparations for in-person voters on Election Day.
“We’re going to have possibly up to 2,000 people up here let alone with the poll workers,” Mayor Stephan Wilder said. “We want to make it a safe experience for them. It’s an important issue for all of us. It’s an important responsibility that we have as citizens.”
In addition to standard safety procedures, the city is looking to new technology to fight COVID-19.
“It is a LED-based UV lighting system that emits light that can inactivate SARS COVID 2 that leads to the COVID virus,” said Tom Boyle, chief technology officer for Cleveland-based GE Current, a Daintree Company.
North Canton’s Director of Administration Patrick De Orio spoke to the design of the device.
“It looks like a smoke detector that’s the, I think, the beauty of the product is that it just blends in and allows you to incorporate it for full function.”
Current created 365DisInFX to help disinfect shared spaces and high-traffic areas.
“We accomplish this by using LED technology at a very low dose to be continuously inactivating viruses or cleaning the air,” Boyle said.
The company said the device complies with all safety regulations and has shown high effectiveness from lab tests using a surrogate virus to represent COVID.
“In terms of a three-hour period, 90 percent of this surrogate virus has been proven to be inactivated,” Boyle said.
North Canton will have eight devices in its civic center, which is one of four polling locations in the city.
“This is a multipurpose building. We have council, we have zoning meetings we have a board of control. It’s a community-building, weddings,” Wilder said.
They said this takes away the element of human error in making sure every corner is reached.
“So there’s a cone effect of the UVC that comes down from each device. They’re able to calibrate it based on the height of the ceiling,” De Orio said.
The company said it is part of a layered approach to protection.
“We should all wash our hands, we should socially distance, we should wear masks. Facilities should also think through their filtration system, however, this should be as an added device,” Boyle said.
North Canton’s mayor said he’s proud of the innovations coming out of Northeast Ohio.
“I think it’s something for the future and there are times where you embrace technology.”
North Canton plans to look into adding the devices to some of its other government buildings. The device has already been distributed and installed in other states at places like restaurants and dentist offices.
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