Northern Arizona Healthcare uses novel approach to sterilize N-95 masks

Protecting our care teams is a top priority at Northern Arizona Healthcare. Shortages of Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, across the country have sparked innovation. Northern Arizona Healthcare is using a novel approach to sterilize critically needed N-95 masks, needed to care for COVID-19 patients.

Taking into consideration the dry climate and high altitude of our area, Northern Arizona Healthcare can decontaminate about 1,000 N-95 masks per location in about four hours by using vaporized hydrogen peroxide. The decontamination process, perfected by Duke University, is based on published studies from 2016. Specialized equipment vaporizes hydrogen peroxide, which infuses all layers of the mask to kill germs (including viruses) without degrading the mask material. 

​Contaminated masks are spread across shelves and sealed in a room where two machines work in tandem to complete the four decontamination stages, including conditioning, gassing, dwell and aeration.