PPE decontamination site opens on Chesterfield County Fairgrounds

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD, Va (WRIC) — Front line workers responding to COVID–19 can have personal protective equipment masks decontaminated for free, on-site of the Battelle critical care decontamination system in Chesterfield.

Battelle’s site leader in Chesterfield, Nick Slavik, said the FDA has approved the organization to clean N95 masks only, based on an emergency use authorization.

“We’re authorized to clean them up to 20 times,” Slavik said.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Pavilion on the fairgrounds holds four large containers with chambers to decontaminate masks, a cleaning process that takes roughly two hours for the N95 masks and around 12 hours to clean the containers.

Slavik said Battelle will have the ability to clean masks 24/7, and offers decontamination at two other Virginia sites in Blacksburg and Newport News.

Early May, Governor Ralph Northam’s office announced Battelle would provide the decontamination, free to front line workers, at no cost to the state; funding is backed by FEMA.

In Chesterfield over a dozen personnel have been trained–two suited up this morning. 

Those wishing to received PPE decontamination first they have to register online with Battelle, then they masks can be shipped or delivered to the fairgrounds site. However, masks must be double-bagged inside each box for safety.

“We will batch them. So if we get one box of 20 masks, then we will obviously wait until we have a few hundred before we start running the process. Ideally we would have about 5000 masks in the chamber when we do each run,” Slavik said.

After masks arrive on site, Battelle says they’ll be back in the hands of front line workers within one to two days.

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