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YMCA to spend nearly $250K on additional COVID-19 safety measures

Officials say a bipolar ionization system will add even more protection against airborne pathogens in their facilities.

BOISE, Idaho — The Treasure Valley Family YMCA is installing an air purification system in all its facilities to protect patrons against the spread of COVID-19.

The YMCA plans to invest approximately $250,000 in a sophisticated bipolar ionization system (BPI), which uses voltage to electrically charge air molecules. Similar systems are already in place at many hospitals and universities around the country.

"The YMCA continues to provide critical, cause-driven programs that make a positive impact on the lives of the people we serve. As important as these programs are, the safety of our members and staff is always our number one priority," said David Duro, Treasure Valley Family YMCA President and CEO. "Throughout the pandemic, we've consistently met or exceeded CDC guidelines and we're eager to add yet another systemic improvement as all of our locations and programs come 100 percent back on-line."

According to experts, the electrically charged ions travel with the airstream through the HVAC system, attach to airborne pathogens like viruses, and cause a chemical reaction on the cell membrane's surface. For COVID-19, this reaction deactivates the virus so it can no longer spread or cause infection.

The YMCA says this will provide an environment where children can regain the academic, social, and emotional learning that was lost during the pandemic. Additionally, adults can safely get back their physical and mental health and seniors can engage in physical and social activities with confidence.  

The BPI system is currently being installed at the Downtown Boise YMCA and will soon be rolled out at the South Meridian, Caldwell, and West Boise locations. Even the YMCA's residential summer camp at Horsethief Reservoir will be outfitted before campers arrive this summer.

The Treasure Valley Family YMCA is optimistic about a return to normalcy and says it is already experiencing record registration for its summer youth programs. All facilities are now open and welcoming back new and existing members.