(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today made an urgent plea to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue an emergency waiver for the use of new technology that could sterilize up to 160,000 used personal protective face masks per day in Ohio.
The technology, which was developed by Columbus-based Battelle, could significantly impact the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage in Ohio and across the country. The technology would also be available in Seattle, New York, and Washington D.C.
"Battelle has had a real breakthrough which would allow surgical masks to be reused, and as soon as the FDA approves the use of this technology, the sterilization can start," said Governor DeWine. "I'm appealing to the FDA to please give us approval. Ohio innovators have a solution to our problem, and all that stands in the way is FDA approval. This is a matter of life and death."
Governor DeWine also issued a plea to LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, which are doing COVID-19 testing in Ohio, to urgently provide testing results to the Ohio Department of Health as soon as possible.
"By getting that information, we can act upon it for the patient and for those interacting with the patient," said Governor DeWine. "We need this information very quickly. Please get us those results in real-time."
Due to the urgent need for PPE in Ohio, Governor DeWine once again asked that anyone who has unneeded PPE or can manufacture new PPE to email the state at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff will receive these emails and coordinate how these resources can best be used to benefit all Ohioans.
All PPE items are of critical need, including, but limited to:
- Surgical gowns (S, M, L, XL, XXL)
- Face/surgical masks (adult, pediatric)
- Gloves (nitrile, vinyl, or butyl)
- N-95 particulate respirators
- Isolation gowns
- Face shields
- Tyvek coveralls
- Foot coverings
- Ventilator tubing
Note: The above items are not intended to be in order of importance.
Governor DeWine issued an order directing state employees to begin inspecting every contractor working on an essential state contract to ensure that they are abiding by best practices outlined in Ohio's Stay at Home order.
New resources are now available on Ohio's COVID-19 website to help parents with education resources. The resources for at-home learning can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov/LearnAtHome.
There are 1,406 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 25 deaths. A total of 344 people have been hospitalized, including 123 admissions to intensive care units. In-depth data can be accessed by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Video of today's full update, including versions with foreign language closed captioning, can be viewed on the Ohio Channel's YouTube page.
For more information on Ohio's response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.