FDA Grants Battelle Request To Sterilize 80,000 N95 Masks Per Machine, Per Day

Battelle employees process N95 masks in the Critical Care Decontamination System.
Battelle employees process N95 masks in the Critical Care Decontamination System. [Battelle]
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the go-ahead to Columbus-based Battelle for its full request to sterilize 80,000 N95 surgical masks per machine, per day under pressure from Ohio officials after an earlier decision would have allowed far fewer.

Ohio reported a total of 29 deaths from COVID-19 Sunday, up from 25 Saturday. The state als confirmed 1,653 cases of the coronavirus, up 17 percent from the day before. A total of 403 people are hospitalized, 139 in intensive care. So far, of 24,376 people in the state have been tested. 

Gov. Mike DeWine got word early Sunday that the  FDA's approval was just for 10,000 masks per machine per day. DeWine called that “reckless”, and called President Donlad Trump to push for more.

“We’re frantically trying to get enough of these masks, and we have a solution, at least for part of the problem, in that we can clean 80,000 of these every single day. Free us, let us go do it. And sometimes you just have to say it that way to get things moving," DeWine said.

THe governor said he wasn’t sure why the the 10,000 limitation was initially said, but said bureaucracy could be the culprit.

“Sometimes you just have to rattle it. And that’s true with the bureaucracy anywhere. That’s the truth with bureaucracy in Columbus, in Ohio, it’s the same. Sometimes you just have to say, this is really important. And the reason it’s important is that we have to protect the people who are on the front line. We don’t have enough of these.”

Though other governors have reported problems with Trump, Dewine praised him and later thanked him in a statement and on Twitter.

Battelle will be able to sterilize 160,000 masks each day with two machines in Ohio, and has machines to send to New York and Seattle.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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