EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso will begin using an innovative method to decontaminate reusable N95 masks in order to address mask shortages for healthcare workers and first responders.
The City will be using the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS) to combat the N95 mask shortage, a release said.
“Having the ability to prolong the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as the N95 mask is critical during this pandemic,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “Ensuring the safety of our healthcare workers and first responders who are on the frontline of this fight is a top priority.”
According to a release, the Battelle CCDS is a self-contained, mobile decontamination system that utilizes vapor phase hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate N95 filtering facepiece ventilators.
As the crisis of COVID-19 continues, N95 masks used by health officials are scarce and hard to find.
The intent of the system is to preserve the N95 masks the region currently has as the masks are nationally in great demand and are scarce, a release said.
“This is a great asset for our community that is provided by our federal government at no cost to our residents,” said Frank Perry, Battalion Chief of Special Operations for the Office of Emergency Management. “This will help augment the reuse of PPE in our community.”
El Paso was chosen by the federal government as one out of 60 other location throughout the country where Battelle will set up their decontamination system.
The system will be located on El Paso International Airport property and will be logistically supported by the Office of Emergency Management, and Border Regional Advisory Council (Border RAC).
According to the city, this will allow approximately 80,000 masks to be decontaminated per day.
An N95 mask can be reused approximately 20 times.
The decontamination service will be available to all healthcare facilities, first responders, law enforcement from the City and County of El Paso and our sister cities of Las Cruces, New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.
The service is free to the partnering entities and not available for private residents, a release said.