OKLAHOMA CITY (KNWA/KFTA) — Hospitals, health care workers, and first responders in Oklahoma will soon have the option of recycling their N95 masks with the state receiving a new decontamination system.
The new contamination system was developed by Battelle, according to a press release.
The Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System is a self-contained, mobile system that uses high concentration, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate N95 masks, according to the release.
Battelle was awarded a contract by the Defense Logistics Agency on behalf of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and FEMA to provide N95 decontamination at no charge to health care providers, according to the release.
“My first priority has always been to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “This system will help us continue to protect our health care workers and first responders as we stay proactive in our fight against COVID-19. Oklahoma is better when we work together.”
The Battelle system was created to address the global shortage of personal protective equipment and will help maximize Oklahoma’s PPE stockpile, which includes about 181,000 N95 masks, according to the release.
Up to 10,000 masks can be decontaminated at a time, according to the release. The process takes about 2.5 hours per batch and health care workers can expect to have cleaned masks back within approximately 72 hours of receipt at the processing facility.
An N95 mask can be decontaminated up to 20 times without degraded performance.
The facility will be up and running by the end of the month.
“The City of Muskogee is proud to partner with the State of Oklahoma to bring this service to Muskogee, with the goal of helping increase the access to critical protective equipment to health care professionals all over Oklahoma,” Muskogee City Manager Mike Miller said.
Only N95 masks that do not contain cellulose can be processed at this time. Decontamination of KN95 masks and other forms of PPE like gowns and gloves is currently prohibited, according to the release.