Columbus, Ohio (May 20, 2020)—Harvey County now has access to the “Battelle Program,” a new state program in place to disinfect N95 masks — medical masks now at a premium as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harvey County Emergency Management director Gary Denny announced to the county commission on Tuesday that the county now has access to the program — an N95 mask decontamination system now in use in Kansas that is aimed at providing health care workers with used but disinfected masks.
“Currently in Harvey County, we have five agencies registered to use that,” Denny said. “One of those agencies is Harvey County. Those N95 masks that we generate in Harvey County, we may be able to send to the state, have them decontaminated and they can send those back.”
The systems are meant to assist states facing an N95 mask shortage brought on by the coronavirus.
“The understanding is that those respirators can go through the process about 20 times before they have met their life expectancy,” Denny said.
Denny said Harvey County has not yet sent any masks to the program — only that the county now has access to it.
“We continue to monitor our personal protective equipment, what is out in the field already across all of our health care partners, as well as how much they are using, just so we can keep our fingers on the pulse of what the needs are,” Denny said.
The process to decontaminate a mask is not quick, but it’s one that Battelle program manager Mark Curran assures is effective.
Battelle, a private nonprofit applied science and technology company, has partnered with FEMA to deploy 60 critical care decontamination systems throughout the country.
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