Governor Evers' office announced today that the state has received 230,000 N95 masks from FEMA, allowing the state to make serious progress toward having enough Personal Protection Equipment to move forward toward opening up more of the state. The state is also receiving a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System™ (CCDS) to help decontaminate N95 respirator masks, which will help extend the life of these important supplies.

“I would like to thank FEMA for answering our calls for help with obtaining these critical supplies, which are badly needed by folks working on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19,” Gov. Evers said. “Staff at the State Emergency Operations Center has been working tirelessly to acquire PPE, and these masks will be a welcome addition to the supply chain they have worked to establish. However, it only addresses a small portion of the ongoing need in Wisconsin for reliable access to PPE.”

The masks and decontamination system were received in response to a request from the state to FEMA last month for more PPE.  

“These additional supplies will be distributed to our partners on the local level as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) administrator. “However, it is important to remember these resources are still extremely scarce, so we encourage all critical care providers who need N95 masks to take steps to extend their life when possible.”

The Battelle CCDS™ decontaminates masks by killing viruses and bacteria using hydrogen peroxide gas. Battelle advises masks can be decontaminated up to 20 times without degrading filtration performance. The system will be able to decontaminate tens of thousands of N95 masks on a daily basis.

“This innovative solution will help dramatically extend the life of N95 masks and address the concerns many health care workers have expressed about the safety of reusing masks,” said Gov. Evers. “This is a critical component of my Badger Bounce Back plan and a key part of getting our state in a position to continue to gain momentum.”

FEMA expects the Battelle CCDS™ to arrive in Wisconsin in the early part of May, with the system likely to be ready for use later in the month. In anticipation of Battelle beginning operations in the state, healthcare workers and first responders are being asked to begin saving their used N95 masks for possible future decontamination. Details about how providers can access this service will be communicated ahead of the system’s launch.

Please note:

  • The Battelle Decontamination System is not authorized for use with respirators containing cellulose-based materials.
  • All compatible N95 respirators must be free of any visual soiling or contamination (e.g., blood, bodily fluids, makeup).
  • Compatible N95 respirators that are visually soiled or damaged should not be collected for decontamination and will be disposed of and not returned after decontamination.
  • Masks should be marked with the name of the healthcare professional to whom the mask was issued.

More information on the Battelle CCDS™ is available here.

In addition to the Battelle System, UV decontamination sites are already in place in much of Wisconsin, and with capacity to service N95 masks and other types of PPE, such as face shields, gowns, and aprons. These efforts are highlighted by facilities currently operating in Brown, Dane, Kenosha, and Sawyer counties.

 

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Steve Hanson
About

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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