RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Personal protective equipment is needed now more than ever in health care systems. That’s why Monument Health is finding a way to properly sterilize masks so they can be reused by the medical staff.
Ultraviolet light towers, that are normally used to decontaminate patient rooms, now have another important purpose.
“The caregivers return their used masks in a brown paper bag, we collect those in the morning, reprocess them, out them back in a white clean bag with a note attached,” Angie Bohling, Manager of Surgical Services, said.
“People are marking their masks with their names and the dates they used them, we use them for approximately five times, we make a mark every time we reprocess the mask,” Peggy O’Sullivan, director of surgical services, said.
Staff can sterilize about 19,000 masks a day. 20 masks are put under the radiation light for 7 and a half minutes before they are deployed back to the health care workers.
“Right now the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing in the state and we are trying to anticipate for a time when there might be a crisis, hopefully, there won’t be, but there certainly is a shortage of the N95s,” Dr. Daniel Petereit said.
Staff members also leave kind notes on these white paper bags to let the caregivers know they are appreciated.
“I think that puts caregivers at ease to know that they have this protection equipment readily available for them and we can process it ourselves within our own hospital,” Bohling said.
Monument Health in Rapid City is coordinating with the other regional healthcare systems to set up the same procedure.