There is a serious shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), surgical masks and procedure masks, that are essential for the protection of frontline healthcare workers and for the mitigation of community transmission during this Covid-19 pandemic. Van Doremalen et al. (2020) evaluates the persistence of SARS-Cov-2 on plastic, stainless steel and cardboard surface showed virus survival up to 72 hours. One strategy to mitigate the pathogen transfer from FFR to the wearer is to rotate their FFRs at least every five days. However, if FFR supplies are not enough for five days rotation per each, reuse of disposable PPEs after decontamination is a necessary strategy to minimize the practical risks from the widespread FFR/face mask shortage, even though the reuse may cause the potential concern of cross-contamination. Herein, we describe decontamination methods with peer reviewed evidences to deactivate Covid-19 virus and provide experimental data to support the use of decontamination methods.
April 24, 2020, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) published “Enforcement Guidance on Decontamination of Filtering Facepiece Respirators in Healthcare During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic (https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-04-24/enforcement-guidance-decontamination-filtering-facepiece-respirators-healthcare)” providing interim guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the Respiratory Protection standard, 29 CFR § 1910.134, with regard to the reuse of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) that have been decontaminated through certain methods. In this memorandum, OSHA suggests proper FFR decontamination options based NIOSH researches “Decontamination and Reuse of Filtering Facepiece Respirators” (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/decontamination-reuse-respirators.html).