As part of the state’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak, California has been working to secure needed medical supplies and personal protective equipment for front line health care workers.
On April 8, Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), announced an additional partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to deploy new sterilization systems throughout California. The systems are part of a federal contract supplied to California through Ohio-based defense contractor Battelle.
“It’s a technology that is designed to get on the ground and actually bring in a used N95 mask and do a sterilization and cleaning process that makes them basically new again and safe to use,” Ghilarducci said.
This announcement comes as the number of positive California COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise, to augment the supplies healthcare workers critically need to do their job.
Battelle’s decontamination system received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)at the end of March as California continued to ramp up it’s fight against COVID-19.
Battelle’s sterilization system would decontaminate approximately 80,000 used medical-grade N95 respirators per day and help address some of the shortages faced by hospital workers, first responders and other essential workers.
Battelle’s Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS) works by exposing used masks for two and a half hours to hydrogen peroxide vapor, which is strong enough at a certain concentration to kill the novel coronavirus. Once decontaminated, a medical grade N95 mask can be used 20 times over instead of just once to help maximize our existing resources.
The first decontamination system is set to arrive in Los Angeles County later this week. Additional sites will be selected based on the number of COVID-19 cases and what regions of the state are utilizing the most masks. These sites will be announced at a later date.
The unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19, has required state, federal and local jurisdictions to embrace innovative solutions in response to the pandemic.
Cal OES, the California Department of Public Health, California Health and Human Services Agency, and multiple other state agencies are managing the emergency response to this pandemic including coordination with the federal agencies, local jurisdictions and the private sector.