VCU Health’s pilot program decontaminates N95 masks


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With the aim of mitigating the mask shortage in hospitals, VCU Health announced a pilot program Thursday that safely decontaminates N95 masks.

The process, which uses high-intensity ultraviolet light, gives the university a chance to replenish its own supply while also providing proper equipment to its staff. According to the university, VCU Medical Center uses roughly 450 masks a day but as the coronavirus pandemic continues, the number of masks used is rising.

“We have to preserve what we have,” Stephen L. Kates, M.D., chair of orthopaedic surgery at VCU Health, who is part of the development team for this method, said. “The ideal thing would be to give every nurse and doctor and technician a brand-new 3M mask every day. But given these unprecedented times, we can’t do that right now.”

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