To help healthcare facilities maintain their stock of personal protective equipment, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday that the state has purchased a decontamination system that can safely clean N95 masks.
According to the governor, the purchase was made possible by a partnership with the federal government.
The system, currently deployed in Waukegan, is an entirely free service for medical facilities to take advantage of, and can decontaminate masks within 24 hours of arrival. The masks can be decontaminated up to 20 times without experiencing any degradation in their effectiveness, according to the governor.
“I can’t overstate how important this in-state resource is to our ability to help our hospitals, healthcare workers, law enforcement officials and frontline workers,” Pritzker said.
The news comes as the state continues to distribute PPE to county public health departments, hospitals and nursing homes. The state has sent out 10.1 million surgical masks, over 1.8 million N95 masks, and over 173,000 gowns since the pandemic began.
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The Federal Emergency Management Agency delivered more than 300,000 N95 masks to the state on Monday, along with 1.6 million gloves and other critically-needed materials.
While those materials will soon be distributed, Pritzker is encouraging all healthcare facilities to take advantage of the decontamination center in Waukegan to help prevent any potential shortfalls.
“I highly encourage all healthcare entities, from hospitals to long-term care facilities, to take advantage of this equipment through IEMA. It’s fast, it’s free, and it will help us help you,” he said.