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MetroHealth Sterilizing N95 Masks For Reuse

The technology is available to MetroHealth because it is an Ebola treatment center. [MetroHealth]

MetroHealth System announced Wednesday it is implementing a technology that can sterilize approximately 50,000 N95 and KN95 respirator facemasks per day to help with healthcare workers’ personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages.

An early intention of the technology was to sterilize ambulances during the Ebola crisis, said MetroHealth’s Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Amy Ray. The technology uses concentrated hydrogen peroxide in a contained area.

“It really is exciting that we’re using this technology. It’s an innovative approach, and it’s something that we’re very proud of,” she said.

The sterilization system will not only help provide more masks for health care professionals, it also has a positive environmental impact, she said.

“Traditionally, we thought about masks as being disposable and if we are able to reprocess them, that certainly would go a long way to cutting down on waste production,” Ray said.

The FDA-approved process takes about two hours to sterilize one batch of masks. Now any MetroHealth employee who wants a mask may have one since they’re able to reuse them.

Research is still being done to determine how many times a mask can be sterilized while remaining effective, Ray said, but one mask could be sterilized as many as 10 to 30 times.

lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158