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FDA OKs system that can decontaminate ‘millions’ of N95 masks per day

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Close-up of Protective N95 Mask on Blue Scrubs with Stethoscope

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a plan Sunday to decontaminate millions of N95 respirators per day as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FDA says thousands of hospitals already have the system installed and can now use them on N95 respirators, which are in short supply.

This is the agency’s third authorization for a respirator decontamination system. The first was issued in late March and the second was issued last week.

“This authorization will help provide access to millions of respirators so our health care workers on the front lines can be better protected and provide the best care to patients with COVID-19,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn said in a news release.

The system, called the STERRAD Sterilization System, uses vaporized hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization, according to the agency.

More than 6,300 hospitals in the U.S. already have the system installed, according to the FDA, and each system can reprocess approximately 480 respirators per day.

The system is limited to “a maximum of 2 decontamination cycles per respirator,” according to the FDA letter that authorized the use of the system.

The United States has a total of 559,409 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22,071 reported deaths as of April 12 — the most in the world.

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