Mask decontamination site plans to open in Madison Co.

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Crews are hard at work preparing a mask decontamination site in Madison County; One its kind in West Tennessee.

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“Four decontamination chambers per site, that can each decontaminate masks and support containers for dirty masks, storage of clean masks and storage of equipment,” said the Principal Research Scientist at Battelle Memorial Institute, Dan Loesch.

The site is run by Battelle Memorial Institute, a research company. The company has set up locations across the U.S. with their decontamination method.

“We will lay masks out in a container. They will close the container and then blow off the masks for a period of time to make sure they’re clean and ready to be decontaminated,” Loesch said. “Once they’re ready to be decontaminated, we hook up the vaporized hydrogen peroxide machine. That machine pumps in vaporized hydrogen peroxide that is then circulated for about four hours.”

The system of filters inside makes sure that workers for Battelle are safe from any chemicals.

The company will process thousands of reusable masks from across the state.

“Each set of masks coming from a hospital goes back to that same hospital within a department inside the hospital,” Loesch said.

The system makes sure that healthcare employees have a safe way to get their masks cleaned.

Wayne Arnold is the Regional Hospital Coordinator with the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department. He says they don’t have a specific timetable for how long the system will be in Madison County, but they have a group of scenarios planned out.

“Battelle is prepared to leave this in place and work out of this site in case there is a second surge in the fall and winter,” Arnold said.

The company has 60 sites set up across the country.

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