COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A legislative committee has approved spending $313,000 on devices that clean the air of viruses and mold in the six buildings on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds.
Officials expect the air ionizing devices should be in place next month, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.
The state prison system already has installed some of the machines and said they immediately slowed the spread of COVID-19 among inmates and workers.
The devices can eliminate the coronavirus, but also other more common viruses that cause illnesses. They can also eliminate mold, an important consideration in a complex where each building is at least 40 years old, according to the state Department of Administration.
The agency that oversees maintenance on many state buildings is also evaluating how much it will cost to put the machines in 46 other facilities it manages, Department of Administration spokesperson Kelly Coakley said.
Members of the Joint Bond Review Committee who approved putting the machines in the six Statehouse buildings, a parking garage and the South Carolina Supreme Court building across the street think all the devices can be paid for through federal COVID-19 relief money.
The same committee set aside $1.7 million in December to put the air ionizing devices in 21 state prisons and administrative buildings and the number of COVID-19 cases dropped, Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling told the newspaper.
“It absolutely works. We’ve proven it works,” Stirling said. “For the money we’ve saved in people not getting sick, it’s more than paid for itself.”