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New decontamination device ready to sterilize N95 masks for reuse in Michigan

The masks can be sterilized and reused up to 20 times

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(Chevy in the D)

DETROIT – Michigan received an N95 mask decontamination device that will allow hospitals and medical centers to reuse masks up to 20 times each amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

May 3, 2020: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 43,754; Death toll now at 4,049

N95 masks, or called N95 respirators, have been in short supply and high demand as the COVID-19 pandemic hit southeast Michigan and the rest of the country.

In response, the federal government worked with Battelle Labs in Ohio to obtain 60 decontamination devices to provide to states across the country. The device uses concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide to cleanse the masks and prepare them for reuse, officials said.

As of Friday hospitals and medical centers can send used N95 masks to Detroit’s TCF Center -- currently serving as a temporary field hospital -- where the decontamination device is located. Battelle has sent employees to operate the device, officials said.

“We are excited to use this technology as part of our strategy to fight COVID-19,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health in Michigan. “This will increase the personal protective equipment available to our frontline workers as they care for Michiganders with COVID-19.”

According to officials, Battelle’s decontamination devices have been allowed for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are 99.99% effective at sterilizing the N95 masks.

After sterilization, the masks will be shipped back to their original location.

Visit Battelle’s website here to learn more about the decontamination service.

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