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COVID-19 Update—Emergency Use Authorized for Respirator Decontamination Machine

March 31, 2020

Decontamination Machine Can Help Aleve Respirator Shortage

As infection control specialists look for innovative methods to stop the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an emergency use authorization to a machine that can decontaminate up to 80,000 respirator masks a day, Infection Control Today reports.

Respirators are crucial pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by cleaning and health care professionals. The new decontamination system uses vapor phase hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate respirators. It can decontaminate the same mask up to 20 times without affecting its performance or compromising the filtering material and straps. Infection control professionals say this machine can potentially more than double the supply of respirators.

Coping with Stress During a Pandemic

Front-line workers are among the groups at increased risk of stress during the coronavirus pandemic. Others at risk include older people and those with chronic diseases, children and teens, and people with mental health conditions including problems with substance abuse.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges anyone who is feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety to contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

Symptoms of stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Social Distancing Policies Extended to End of April

Stress may be a common response for many workers furloughed at least another month after the United States extended its social distancing guidelines until April 30.

This week, the government will finalize its guideline plans and provide a summary of its findings, two weeks after first issuing guidelines on March 16 aimed at containing the coronavirus outbreak. The original guidance initially had a 15-day time frame and urged Americans to avoid groups of more than 10. Businesses considered nonessential, such as restaurants and theaters, were temporarily closed. Companies either furloughed or laid off their employees or had them work from home.

According to the latest statistics, more than 140,000 people in the United States have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 2,400 have died.

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