Columbus, Ohio (May 19, 2020)—At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, facemasks have become de riguer. As the Washington Post flatly declared earlier this week, “Most people wear masks when they’re out and about.”
For those not employed by the medical profession, a bandana will do the job. But the gold standard in personal protective equipment (PPE) is the close-fitting N-95 mask, named for its ability to block “at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) particles” from airborne transmission.
N95 masks are in short supply, but a system that went into effect in Montrose last week could offer some help, by decontaminating up to 80,000 N-95 masks every day. Each used mask, according to the nonprofit scientific research firm Battelle, can be decontaminated and redeployed for “battle” against the coronavirus up to 20 times.
Battelle calls its technology — which was recently established through a joint initiative of the Colorado Unified Coordination Center, FEMA, U.S. Health and Human Services, and Montrose County — a Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS). There are two such systems in the state: one in Adams County, and one on the Western Slope, in Friendship Hall at the Montrose County Fairgrounds.
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