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New Battelle system ready to sanitize N95 respirators in Wisconsin

The Battelle Memorial Institute Critical Care Decontamination System (Source: Battelle)
The Battelle Memorial Institute Critical Care Decontamination System (Source: Battelle)(NBC15)
Published: May. 9, 2020 at 3:35 PM CDT
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Wisconsin now has a new weapon in its arsenal in the fight against the coronavirus.

The office of Gov. Tony Evers announced Saturday that Wisconsin’s new Battelle Memorial Institute Critical Care Decontamination System is up and running, ready to be used to decontaminate N95 respirators.

Health care workers and first responders will be able to use the Battelle system to clean their respirators so they can be reused up to 20 times, the governor's office says. Officials estimate the system will be able to decontaminate up to 80,000 N95 respirators every day.

The Battelle system, including shipping, will be provided to Wisconsin healthcare organizations and professionals free of charge.

The governor's office says eligible healthcare providers include: hospitals, nursing homes, public health professionals, human and child protective services offices, emergency managers, first responders, coroners, medical examiners, law enforcement and correctional institutions, home health organizations, pharmacists, rural health services and dental offices.

"Our front line workers are in need of these critical PPE supplies, and we are doing everything we can to supply them with the tools to effectively do their jobs while preventing further spread," Gov. Evers said in a written statement.

"I encourage all of our frontline workers to save their N95 respirators so they can be decontaminated using our new Battelle system," the governor said.

The state of Wisconsin was able to obtain the Battelle system with the help of FEMA and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Battelle developed the system in 2015 to help decontaminate PPE to prevent further spread of Ebola.

“It is our goal to get as many N95 respirators decontaminated as we possibly can,” said Jim Langdon, COVID-19 decontamination response lead at the State Emergency Operations Center, in a statement.

“We are also working to ensure that the process for submitting an item for decontamination is easy and timely for our state’s health care workers and first responders," Langdon says.

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