COLUMBUS, Ohio (August 3, 2020)—The PPE or Personal Protective Equipment shortage across the country has a direct effect on supplies needed to help the fight against COVID-19 in Hawaii. Any healthcare provider including care homes across the state qualifies for a decontamination service and it's free. They're decontaminated at an undisclosed facility and it allows each mask to be used up to 20 times.
"We're having to pay 5 to 7 times per PPE item for what we would normally pay because of the worldwide shortage and demand for PPE," Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii president & CEO, said.
The company that sterilizes the masks is called Battelle, using new technology called Critical Care Decontamination System. It's a first in Hawaii, work is done 24/7 and the process starts online.
"You'd get a three digit code, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to sign up. Once you get your three digit code, you would print a shipping label, FedEx, or if you have your own private carrier, you can bring it here yourself," Milo Afong, Battelle Hawaii site lead, said.
Up to 10,000 N95 masks can be decontaminated within 24 hours inside each chamber. All orders are guaranteed to be shipped back within 72 hours. One of the first to sign-up: Queen's Health Systems.
"As we look at what's happening in the community today, 207 cases, it's the highest number, we continue to set records and the biggest risk for us is making sure we have the right protection for all of our caregivers so they know they're safe," Jason Chang, The Queen's Health Systems chief operating officer, said.
Afong says they don't plan to open another facility in the state, believing service here on Oahu can accommodate the entire state.
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