ANNAPOLIS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Among the many important announcements made on Friday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said a personal protection equipment (PPE) decontamination site would soon be coming to BWI – Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Hogan’s press team tells FOX 5 they are still working out the details, including when the site will officially open and how they plan to receive the PPE needing cleaning.
Governor Hogan, in his Friday news conference, did say the site would be able to clean 80,000 N-95 respiratory masks-a-day. Hogan says the Maryland Department of Transportation, in coordination with FEMA, is setting up the new site. He also thanked the Trump Administration and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine for Maryland now being able to receive a decontamination unit.
“I’m not sure it’s a band aid but it’s certainly part of the solution. It’s not the whole solution – and I mean, that’s the number one question in American today is, ‘When will worldwide companies and companies across America be able to ramp up production fast enough to get PPE?’ [it’s] something we’re handling at a state level,” said Hogan who added, “It’s the number one problem we have today: the lack of PPE.”
The Ohio-based company that will be supplying Maryland with a decontamination unit is called, Battelle. Bettelle’s website confirmed the company received Federal Drug Administration (FDA) “Emergency Use Authorization” to use their Critical Care Decontamination System last Sunday.
FILE - Protective N-95 face masks lie on a table at an office in Washington, DC. (Photo by EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images)
Battelle also described its process online, saying it uses a concentrated vapor phase hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate the masks and that the PPE is exposed to this vapor for some 2.5 hours. Battelle’s site says they can clean a mask for up to 20 times before its performance is impacted. The company also tracks masks by barcode.
This is one of two ways Hogan discussed help for health care workers on the frontlines of this Coronavirus battle. The second way was through COVID-19 survivors.
Hogan announced a new registry the state is now asking COVID-19 survivors to sign up with: Health.Maryland.gov/COVIDConnect
The Maryland Governor said the state, Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg Philanthropies are partnering to collect and research convalescent blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients. A Johns Hopkins Magazine article discusses the research noting, “People who recover from an infection develop antibodies that circulate in the blood and can neutralize the pathogen.”
Researchers are hoping to isolate the antibodies and potentially use this treatment to help boost immune systems, the article and other experts explain. The goal is for this treatment to also help those healthcare workers fighting coronavirus head-on.