STERIS gets FDA approval to sterilize medical masks

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave approval to Mentor-based STERIS to begin small-scale N95 mask sterilization using 100 machines across Ohio.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced on Friday, April 10, that STERIS was issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the sterilization process. Each vaporizing hydrogen-peroxide sterilizer can decontaminate 10 masks in 28 minutes — repeated up to 10 times for each mask to extend their useful life.

Meanwhile, the latest statistics from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) report 5,836 confirmed and 42 probable cases of COVID-19 across 84 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Of those, 1,755 people were hospitalized (548 of them in intensive care). Health care workers accounted for 1,237 of those cases. More than 58,500 people have been tested in Ohio. There have been a total of 227 deaths in the state, along with four additional deaths with a “probable” connection to COVID-19 under new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) .

The new guidance, recommended for the CDC by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), considers a patient a probable case if there is clinical and epidemiological evidence for the presence of COVID-19 without a lab-test result or if a patient has tested positive for the disease’s antibodies.

“We will follow the CDC guidance,” Gov. Mike DeWine said, although he added that the ODH coronavirus website will continue to break out probable cases from test-positive data.

“We want to make sure we show the data that is very transparent and allows people to make apples-to-apples comparisons,” he said.

ODH director Dr. Amy Acton addressed questions regarding when an essential employee who was symptomatic for COVID-19 should return to work.

“The guidance is that you have not had a fever for three days,” Acton said, “and you have to be seven days at least from the onset of symptoms, and that lets us know that the risk of infection is much less.”

DeWine also announced that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is providing free temporary permits to allow food trucks to set up at the state’s 86 rest areas, and that 3,100 cases of hand sanitizer produced by Ohio distilleries in partnership with JobsOhio will be delivered to the state’s 12 food banks beginning in mid-April.

This article was originally published in Crain’s Cleveland Business.

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