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Coronavirus Latest: Frederick County Employees Create Decontamination Chamber For N95 Masks

FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) -- Understanding that there may be a potential shortage of N95 masks for first responders and healthcare workers, some Frederick County employees decided to help build a decontamination chamber.

The employees know that the county's treatment plants made water safe from viruses and wondered if that same technology could be used to help decontaminate masks.

UV Rack 2_closeup
Credit: Frederick County

The group from the county's Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management started to work on a prototype using ultraviolet light.

In just three weeks' time, they went from the concert to a fully operational decontamination unit.

They delivered the unit to Frederick Health Hospital this week. If the hospital runs low on N95 masks, the device can be used to extend the mask's effectiveness. As many as 84 masks can be decontaminated every hour.

"I am so impressed with the innovation and creativity of county employees and their dedication to keeping our community safe," said County Executive Jan Gardner. "They realized they could help our healthcare workers, first responders and other address the shortage of masks by developing a decontamination unit to allow safe re-use of existing masks. To turn the concept into a reality in such a short time is remarkable. These dedicated employees are making a difference on the front lines of our fight against the coronavirus."

A second unit is under construction.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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