COLUMBUS, Ohio– Kevin Sayers is Battelle’s site director at the Critical Care and Decontamination site in West Jefferson and has worked with the company for nearly 20 years.
His job is logistics, getting Personal protective equipment, or PPE from hospitals and carrying out the four-hour decontamination process for thousands of face masks worn by doctors, nurses, and those on the front line of the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Central Ohio based Battelle is a nonprofit global research and development company that says its committed to science and technology for the greater good.
- Their decontamination system for N95 hospital masks has been a game changer in the battle against the Coronavirus.
- Battelle has said its machines could sterilize up to 80,000 N95 masks per day.
“They load all that up into the chamber and have to inspect every single piece of PPE to make sure it’s not soiled. Once we get a chamber loaded, we get our vapor hydrogen peroxide generator, and I’ve said it looks like a washing machine. We pump that gas in, we adjust that humidity to get that vapor to start condensing on the surfaces of all the PPE. And that’s really where you get that effective decontamination,” says Sayers.
Company officials say they’ve prepared for the sanitation of N-95 masks for years.
“We did some extensive testing with the FDA back in 2016, looking again at spores on masks, the PPE. We know we can decontaminate things from Anthrax all the way down to COV-2,” says Research Scientist William Richter.
This past week Battelle announced a partnership with the state to offer free sanitation of police, fire, and EMS worker masks.
Battelle says there is no charge for the service, and it is part of their $415 million contract with the federal government for 60 of the Critical Care Decontamination Systems.
Delaware County EMS Director Jeff Fishel says their staff is prepared with the proper PPE they need to respond if a surge occurs.
He says his department initiated a contract with Battelle last month, and they’ve already sent their first shipment of masks for decontamination.
Fishel says the move gives the county’s 120 EMS workers peace of mind.
“For our employees to come to work knowing that they have the PPE that they need, they will continue to have the PPE that they need, they know that we’re looking out for the best interest in protecting them, so they can take the best care of patients, allows them to be solely focused on our mission,” says Fishel.
Battelle has said its machines could sterilize up to 80,000 N95 masks per day.
Sayers says the company is prepared for the additional demand.
“I keep on seeing numbers added, added, and added, so we’re keeping up with it right now. We have plenty of capacity. Our police our fire, our nurses and our doctors, it’s just a really good feeling to be able to take some of the knowledge that we have, and be able to support them,” says Sayers.
Battelle officials say besides the decontamination system, they’ve partnered with Ohio State University to develop a rapid, accurate test for COVID-19.
The company also says it’s currently working on vaccines and treatments.