NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam made an announcement on Saturday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is giving Virginia three Battelle Critical Care Decontamination Systems this week — one of which will go to Newport News.
“An ongoing, stable supply of PPE is key to moving Virginia forward from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Northam said. “This innovative new technology will extend the life of critical PPE like N95 masks, giving our medical facilities and first responders greater access to much-needed supplies and helping the Commonwealth manage our resources amid a nationwide shortage.”
The announcement said these systems can collectively sterilize up to 240,000 units of personal protective equipment a day, which will help address the national shortage of PPE and protect healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The way the CCDS works is it uses a concentrated hydrogen peroxide vapor to decontaminate N95 masks. The announcement said this process lets masks be decontaminated up to 20 times without degrading the N95’s filtration performance.
Newport News’s CCDS will be installed a warehouse site in the Hampton Roads Sanitation District.
The other two CCDS will go to the town of Blacksburg and be installed at the Marching Virginians Center on the Virginia Tech campus and the Vietnam Veterans Pavilion at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds.
According to the announcement, the system in Blacksburg will support Virginia and West Virginia and be jointly operated by both states. Other states that will be able to use the system include Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina.
The CCDS will not cost the commonwealth anything for the first six months of use, and they are federally funded through FEMA.
Battelle is currently hiring staff to help support its ramp up efforts, including in Virginia.