Peterborough Research & Commercialization Task Force Collaborates to Bring Innovative Solutions to Area, Including Decontamination of Personal Protective Equipment

A task force including Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development, Innovation Cluster, Trent University, GMP and Health & Safety Consulting, County of Peterborough representing Peterborough Paramedics and Lifestyle Home Products are working to create a decontamination process to allow Peterborough Public Health employees to recycle N-95 masks as supply runs short.

As Peterborough Public Health has given permission to Peterborough paramedics and PRHC to not throw out used N-95 masks in case of emergency, the group looks to quickly provide a resource to decontaminate and recycle saved masks. Currently, Peterborough Paramedics have a two week supply left as of April 8. As the United States halts the shipment of N-95 masks to Canada, a process to safely reuse masks is in urgent need.

The group is currently searching for a Steris VHP 1000ED Mobile Biodecontamination System or a system of similar nature, which is a mobile unit that decontaminates enclosed areas up to ten thousand cubic feet. It uses a dry vapour sterilization process that allows decontamination of sensitive products, including N-95 masks.

Scientists at Duke University have developed a protocol for using this system to sterilize PPE, specifically N-95 masks, which has recently been approved by Health Canada.

“If the country moves into crisis mode, we will have this process in place for other areas to adopt immediately,” says John Gillis, President of the Innovation Cluster.

The group asks those who might have such resources to reach out to them by directly contacting jgillis@innovationcluster.ca.

Options for alternative mask designs and decontamination/sterilization of existing masks continues to be explored.

Task Force includes – PKED (Rhonda Keenan), Innovation Cluster (John Gillis), Trent University (John Knight), Diane Richard (GMP and Health & Safety Consulting), Karen Jopling (County of Peterborough representing Peterborough Paramedics) and Chris Williams (Trent).