Gov. Northam announces new PPE decontamination equipment coming to Blacksburg

Virginia to receive three units, each can sterilize up to 80,000 units of PPE per day

Gov. Northam announced that Blacksburg is one of three locations in Virginia to receive PPE decontamination equipment. (WSLS)

RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Ralph Northam announced on Saturday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved Virginia to receive three Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System™ (CCDS).

The equipment can collectively sterilize up to 240,000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) per day for reuse. The three systems will be operational in the Town of Blacksburg, the City of Newport News, and Chesterfield County within the next week.

The Battelle CCDS™ uses a concentrated hydrogen peroxide vapor to decontaminate N95 masks, which can sustain up to 20 decontamination cycles without degrading filtration performance. This technology will help address the national shortage of critical PPE and protect healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“An ongoing, stable supply of PPE is key to moving Virginia forward from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Northam. “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 three systems are being installed at the Marching Virginians Center on the Virginia Tech campus, a warehouse site in the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, and the Vietnam Veterans Pavilion at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds.

The system in Blacksburg will support Virginia and West Virginia and will be jointly operated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. West Virginia has provided generators through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. The system will be made available for use by other states, including Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

The decontamination systems will be provided to the Commonwealth for free during the first six months of use. These systems are federally funded through FEMA and the Defense Logistics Agency, and health care providers will not be charged for the decontamination services.

These systems supplement a growing network of decontamination capabilities in and around the Commonwealth. A similar system was delivered to Washington, D.C. last week and is being shared by health care systems in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

The Virginia Emergency Support Team is developing processes to ensure that PPE is picked up and returned to the same facility for safe and efficient reuse.

Health care providers and first responder organizations interested in using the decontamination equipment can enroll here. Battelle is hiring staff to help ramp up its efforts, including in Virginia.

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