From a news release: Effective immediately, workers in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other frontline occupations should begin saving unsoiled N95 masks for decontamination right away. A Battelle Critical Decontamination System has been established in Waukegan to address this immediate need.
The machine, which can decontaminate up to 80,000 N95 masks per day, is authorized by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the decontamination and reuse of N95 respirators for healthcare personnel. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fully funds the production, deployment and operation of these systems, so no operating or service fee is required to use the system.
“For months now, states throughout the country have been battling a broken supply chain and great demand for N95 masks in order to protect our essential frontline workers,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “The implementation of the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System is a lifeline at a critical juncture of the COVID-19 response. I encourage all hospitals and healthcare facilities to utilize this free service to safely extend the life of your PPE.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency contracted with Battelle for 60 machines and then accepted applications from the states to determine who received the service based on need.
The machine uses concentrated vapor phase hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate thousands of N95 respirators at a time in order for healthcare and other frontline workers to safely reuse them. The process removes all biological contaminants, including the viruses responsible for SARS and COVID-19. Masks can be decontaminated up to 20 times without degrading their performance.
To participate, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other facilities with health care workers who wear N95 masks must enroll at www.battelle.org/decon. Once enrolled, each institution will be responsible for collecting unsoiled used masks and making sure they are labeled with a facility code and name of the mask user.
FedEx and Cardinal Health are providing end-to-end logistic support at no costs. These organizations will collect used masks from participating agencies and transport them to the Battelle site, then return the decontaminated masks to the facility, which will return them to individual users.
The following makes and models of N95 masks can be decontaminated:
• VFLEX 1804
• Aura 1870+
• Aura 9210+
• 1500 Series
Kimberly Clark Models:
Additional information about the Battelle Decontamination System, including how to register for this service, can be found at Ready.Illinois.gov.