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New Pierce County system can sterilize 80,000 N95 masks a day

The new system will help combat the shortage of coronavirus supplies, particularly the N95 face masks, in Washington state.

CAMP MURRAY, Wash. — As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the country, many states are struggling with a shortage of supplies and medical masks.

Health care workers have reported having to reuse the same masks several times, or even having to share masks in some cases.

To fight the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), Ohio-based company Battelle donated one of its Critical Care Decontamination Systems (CCDS) to Washington state.

The system can sanitize around 80,000 N95 respirator masks per day so they can be reused by health care workers on the front lines.

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The masks are sanitized by using concentrated, vapor-phase hydrogen peroxide. The masks are gassed for two and a half hours to destroy bacteria, viruses, and contaminants.

Battelle received an emergency go-ahead from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the weekend to deploy its decontamination system for PPE.

The Washington Emergency Management Division said the CCDS underwent a dry run test on Monday and is “expected to be operational to clean used N95 masks this week.”

While the system will be installed at Camp Murray near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County, the sanitized masks will be distributed statewide.

Emergency management said hospitals are responsible for shipping used PPE to Camp Murray and picking up sanitized PPE.

RELATED: Washington nurses want answers about protective equipment shortfalls

Washington state is just the third location across the nation to receive the new technology. The CCDS will be installed in the coming days.

You can learn more about the technology here.

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