Ohio nonprofit sterilizes first 3,500 N95 masks in fight against coronavirus PPE shortage

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A Columbus-based non-profit who has developed a process to sanitize N95 surgical masks in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus has processed its first 3,500 masks.

According to Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Battelle informed him Tuesday morning that they had completed the first batch in the effort to safely recirculate personal protective equipment (PPE) back into use.

“They are ramping up as they get the masks back in from the hospitals,” Husted said during a Tuesday coronavirus briefing at the Ohio statehouse. “You will continue to see that ramp up which is a big, big, important part of making sure our frontline hospital workers have what they need.”

Battelle received federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval Sunday night to sterilize as many masks as it can after some back and forth between the lab, the state, and the federal government.

Battelle’s process uses concentrated hydrogen peroxide vapor and pressure to sterilize the masks, which are then recirculated back to their medical facility of origin.

Battelle claims to be able to process up to 80,000 masks per machine per day. It has two machines operational in central Ohio, with other machines heading to other locations around the country like New York City and Washington state.

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