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DHS unveils system to decontaminate up to 80,000 masks a day

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Personal protective equipment is still in short supply in Wisconsin, especially N95 masks.

Those masks are designed to be used just once, but with critical shortages across the country, health care workers have had no choice but to use them repeatedly.

The state has now developed a plan to extend their lifespan.

The Department of Health Services debuted a new system Tuesday that can decontaminate up to 80,000 masks a day.

"We are only accepting N95 respirators that are not cellulose based," said Caitlyn Farragher, Energy and Environment Field Technician Specialist with Battelle. "We are also accepting masks that are not soiled."

The system, designed by Battelle, is being rolled out in 60 different locations throughout the country.

Only one is located in Wisconsin.

They expect to begin decontaminating masks by the end of the week.

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