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Coronavirus Fight: Massachusetts Getting N95 Mask Decontamination System Next Week

BOSTON (CBS) - Massachusetts is about to get a new N95 mask decontamination system to help with the critical shortage of the masks across the state because of the coronavirus pandemic.

At a news conference Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the machine from defense contractor Battelle will be set up at the old K-Mart site in Somerville by Monday, April 6.

"The system can decontaminate up to 80,000 masks per day, which should cover all demand in Massachusetts over time," she said. "Each N95 can be decontaminated, disinfected five-to-10 times before it has to be disposed."

Sudders noted that system, which was obtained by Partners Health Care, "brings a level of quality assurance that will allow hospital teams to concentrate on other priorities."

Battelle n95 mask decontamination
Battelle's N95 mask decontamination system. (Photo credit: Battelle)

She said Massachusetts will be the fourth site in the county to have the Battelle system, which is made in Columbus Ohio and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The shortage of the masks has forced medical workers to wear them longer than the CDC recommends.

The New England Patriots partnered with the state of Massachusetts to get 1.7 million N95 masks from China Thursday.

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