Gov. Tom Wolf today announced the availability of a program to provide free N95 respirator decontamination to health care facilities, first responders, and other eligible organizations that may be experiencing a shortage of the respirators due to limited availability through normal procurement channels. “We are in the midst of an unprecedented shortage of personal protective equipment,” said Wolf. “This critical decontamination service, provided at no cost by the US Department of Health and Human Services (US HHS), gives us another option for making sure that the people at the forefront of this pandemic have the equipment they need to stay safe.”
The Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the decontamination and reuse of N95 respirators as needed during a time of crisis. The system uses a vaporous hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate the units. A single Battelle CCDS site can decontaminate tens of thousands of N95s in a single day. The decontamination process permits the reuse of N95s, and each N95 can be decontaminated up to 20 times before it requires disposal. The US Department of Health and Human Services is funding the operation of multiple Battelle CCDS sites across the country, with one located in Delaware County.
An eligible organization that wishes to use the system for N95 decontamination must register and enter into a use agreement with Battelle, at which time they will receive additional guidance regarding the types of N95s that are allowed and instructions for shipping and delivery. The service is available free of charge for use by eligible organizations – the federal government is absorbing 100% of the cost. The only cost to an eligible organization is for shipping to and from the site.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and US HHS have determined that eligible organizations include hospitals, urgent care centers, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, cancer centers, pharmacies, dialysis centers, assisted living facilities, clinical laboratories, emergency medical services (EMS), and private practice/outpatient facilities. Use is not necessarily limited to these organizations. Some situations exist where the following organizations may require use of the Battelle CCDS if experiencing critical shortages of N95 respirators: law enforcement agencies, security firms, fire departments, hazardous materials units, public health departments, public works or utility companies, and emergency management agencies.
Information about the service is being distributed to potentially eligible organizations through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, PA Department of Health, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and other state agencies.