Following an initially uphill battle with the FDA, Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that Columbus-based company Battelle is equipped and prepared to begin sterilizing N95 masks in Ohio. As a result, he urged medical professionals and hospital administration staff to refrain from throwing away costly masks and instead prepare to send them to Columbus for re-sterilization.
The N95 masks are crucial for specialized health care and those on the front lines working to combat COVID-19. Currently, officials said there are not enough of these masks available for healthcare providers to get through this pandemic safely.
According to DeWine, Battelle can now sterilize up to 160,000 masks in one day.
"Every mask is precious," said DeWine. "Do not throw one away. We now have the ability to use that mask up to 20 times."
He said the masks can be collected and sent to Battelle for cleaning. The company will then mark new numbers on the masks, indicating the number of times they have been cleaned in order to track the longevity of the mask. Once it has outlived its ability to be cleaned, healthcare workers can then throw the masks away.