Technology developed by Columbus-based Battelle could stretch the nation's supply of critical personal protective equipment, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to build momentum.
According to the latest projections from the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio may see as many as 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 at the peak of the pandemic in mid- to late May, putting intense pressure on medical equipment. Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted says the Food and Drug Administration could approve as early as Friday new equipment developed by Batelle that will let healthcare workers reuse masks. And he says there are units standing by right here in Ohio.
"They would be deploying machines - they would have two of them in Ohio - that could sterilize upto 160,000 PPE masks a day. And that would really be super, super valuable to keeping the supply chain that we need."
Health Director Dr. Amy Acton says hospitals have been holding on to masks in anticipation of the Batelle equpipment. And she says there are other innovations that could help extend the existing medical equipment, including a way to route tubing so that several patients could be served by the same ventilator.