PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Gov. Tom Wolf says that healthcare facilities and first responders can now send their N95 masks to be decontaminated by professionals.
The federal government is picking up the tab for the cleaning costs through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
All the organizations have to pay is the cost of shipping the masks.
.@GovernorTomWolf today announced a program to provide free N95 respirator decontamination to healthcare facilities, first responders, and other eligible organizations that may be experiencing a shortage of the respirators due to limited availability.https://t.co/o2BxmFBU6R
— Office of the Governor (@GovernorsOffice) May 6, 2020
Gov. Wolf says the decontamination service is expected to ease the burden of the shortage of personal protective equipment.
In a statement, he said, “We are in the midst of an unprecedented shortage of personal protective equipment. This critical decontamination service, provided at no cost by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (US HHS), gives us another option for making sure that the people at the forefront of this pandemic have the equipment they need to stay safe.”
The FDA has approved the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System, which officials say uses hydrogen peroxide vapors to decontaminate the masks.
State officials say there are multiple systems located across the country, including one in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
The system “can decontaminate tens of thousands of N95s in a single day. The decontamination process permits the reuse of N95s, and each N95 can be decontaminated up to 20 times before it requires disposal.”
Organizations that are eligible and want to use the service must register with the Battelle service, the state says.