Three Battelle Critical Care Decontamination Systems that sterilize personal protective equipment for reuse is coming to Virginia.
One of the systems will be sent to Newport News.
Gov. Ralph Northam said Saturday FEMA has approved Virginia to receive the systems that can collectively sterilize up to 240,000 units of personal protective equipment — commonly known as PPE — per day for reuse.
Two of the systems will operate in Chesterfield County and Blacksburg.
“An ongoing, stable supply of PPE is key to moving Virginia forward from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Northam said. “This innovative new technology will extend the life of critical PPE like N95 masks, giving our medical facilities and first responders greater access to much-needed supplies and helping the Commonwealth manage our resources amid a nationwide shortage.”
The system uses a concentrated hydrogen peroxide vapor to decontaminate N95 masks, which can sustain up to 20 decontamination cycles without degrading filtration performance, according to a news release from the governor’s office. The technology will help address the national shortage of critical PPE and protect health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The three systems are being installed at the Marching Virginians Center on the Virginia Tech campus, a warehouse site in the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, and the Vietnam Veterans Pavilion at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds.
The system in Blacksburg will support Virginia and West Virginia and will be jointly operated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
West Virginia has provided generators through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. The system will be made available for use by other states to include Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
The Battelle CCDS is available at no cost to the state for the first six months of use, according to the governor’s office. The systems are federally-funded through FEMA and the Defense Logistics Agency, and health care providers will not be charged for the decontamination services.
The Virginia Emergency Support Team is developing processes to ensure that PPE is picked up and returned to the same facility for safe and efficient reuse. Health care providers and first responder organizations interested in using the system can enroll here.
Battelle is hiring staff to help support its ramp up efforts, including in Virginia.
Additional information about the Battelle CCDS is available here.
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