PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Allegheny Health Network has announced they are the first organization in the region to begin sterilizing N95 masks for reuse.
AHN says that the Mask Sterilization and Re-use program is CDC-approved and will allow healthcare workers to use the disposable masks up to three times.
The move will work to “alleviate the stress that mask supply shortages have had on health care providers across the country,” AHN said in a statement.
The sterilization program began over the weekend at nine hospital will help increase AHN’s supply of N95 mask.
“With masks and other kinds of personal protective equipment in short supply, AHN and Highmark Health have been working tirelessly to ensure that our patients are safe and that our clinical employees always have the protective equipment they need,” said Sricharan Chalikonda, MD, Chief Medical Operations Officer, AHN. “Sometimes, that means finding new sources for those products. In this case, we have developed an outside-of-the-box approach to make more efficient use of the products we already have on hand.”
Disposable masks are normally used one but due to supply shortages around the country and world, the FDA has temporarily allowed health care providers to sterilize masks for re-use.
Equipment that is typically used to sterilize and decontaminate surgical tools and other medical supplies are the same being used to clean the masks.