MIDLAND, Texas — With N-95 masks in short supply, Midland Memorial Hospital is coming up with inventive ways to clean them using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation.
"Everyone knows that there's a shortage with these N-95 masks internationally" Cindy Wolf, sterile processing supervisor at MMH said.
To help supplies last, MMH uses short-wave ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to eradicate the microorganisms that might be on the N95 masks.
They got the idea from a hospital in Nebraska. They have only been using the technology for three days now but it is already making a huge difference.
They have been able to extend the life of N-95 masks for employees from 4 shifts to 16.
“It runs for five minutes and it captures the front side and the backside," Wolf said. "It does a 360 of the mask in a room where the airflow is cleaned 10 times every hour."
Disinfecting them this way makes them last longer.
“We can utilize that one mask four times, which gives it 16 days, versus one mask for four days," Wolf said. "So it’s just helping us stretch what we have for as long as we have them."
Since we do not know how long COVID-19 will impact the community, the hospital says it is essential to come up with practices like this to combat the virus.
“So to continue to support the community, you have to find creative ways.”
The hospital is cleaning a few dozen masks each day.
They tell me that they are planning on using the UV germicidal irradiation for months to come.
For more information on decontamination and reuse of filtering N-95 masks click here.
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