Becky Kuntzelman | Johnson Publications
The UV tower is being used to decontaminate used N95 masks for recirculation due to a state shortage. From left are Brett Harmon, Kay Schmidt, Heidi Wheeler and Abby Cyboron.
CCCH housing decontamination UV tower for 15-county region
The Nebraska Plains Healthcare Coalition has provided a UV sterilization tower (Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation tower) on site at Chase County Community Hospital (CCCH).
“This is an amazing resource for our area,” said Kay Schmidt, head of infection prevention at CCCH.
“This is the same technology being used in big cities. We are so fortunate to have it here in a rural area,” she added.
Nebraska is having a PPE (personal protection equipment) shortage which includes a severe shortage of N95 masks.
The UV tower is now the responsibility of CCCH and will currently be used to sterilize N95 masks for partners in a 15-county region.
The masks can then be put back in circulation for healthcare workers and first responders, said Heidi Wheeler, Readiness and Response Coordinator.
“It took three to four weeks of hard work to get this equipment placed here,” she said.
CCCH facility manager Brett Harmon set up the decontamination room where N95 masks will be sterilized using the UV tower.
How it works
Within a dedicated closed room, where the UV tower is located, are multiple “clotheslines” with clothespins to hang used masks.
Used N95 masks must be transported in brown paper bags placed inside a secure container per requirements, said Schmidt.
Clothed in PPE, hospital staff will hang the masks in the decontamination room, paper bags will be inciner