Published on April 24, 2020

Altru Uses Ultraviolet Light to Disinfect N95 Respirators

Grand Forks, N.D. – Altru Health System is prioritizing the safety of our staff, patients and community. As a safeguard against the spread of COVID-19, Altru is utilizing ultraviolet light to disinfect N95 respirators, a mask for healthcare workers in certain settings that has filtration abilities.

“The objective in this project was to provide an extra layer of defense while N95 respirators are being reused by care providers,” said Matt Strand, Compliance and Application Analyst for the Central Sterile Department. “This provides a better chance of avoiding infection.”

Employees using N95 respirator masks can turn them over to Altru’s Central Sterile team. The masks will then be inspected and sterilized using UV-C light. The process takes about an hour and a half. Altru has already processed more than 1,200 masks in about three weeks.

“Our UV disinfection process adds another layer of defense by subjecting used masks to intense UV-C light, which has been proven to neutralize many different microorganisms,” said Strand.

The Optimum-UV lights were made by Clorox. Before the pandemic, the lights were being used to disinfect patient rooms.

“By reducing the risk of infection, we allow our providers more peace of mind and allow for supply conservation,” said Strand.

About Altru Health System

Rated the number one hospital in North Dakota in 2019 by U.S. News and World Report, Altru Health System is now in its second century of serving the communities of northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Based in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Altru Health System is a physician-led, multispecialty group practice with an acute care hospital, Level II trauma center, specialty hospital, more than two dozen Grand Forks and regional practice locations, and a large home care network. As the region’s largest private employer, Altru Health System employs more than 300 physicians and advanced practice providers and 3,800 staff. Altru Health System was the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, extending Mayo Clinic knowledge and expertise to the patients we serve. For more information, visit altru.org.