Spectrum working to conserve protective equipment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Spectrum Health says it’s taking steps to conserve its supply of face masks and other personal protective equipment.

These actions come as hospitals in West Michigan and across the country are struggling with a lack of supplies, including N95 masks, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials say they’re looking at a couple of disinfection options right now.

Spectrum says aerosolized hydrogen peroxide and heat can be used to disinfect N95 masks between shifts.          

Staffers are also trying out sanitizing goggles and face shields with ultraviolet light.

Officials say being able to safely reuse masks would be a game-changer in their effort to protect their health care workers on the front lines.

“They’re kind of like gold. It’s not a normal process to be able to reuse and sanitize, so it is very unusual. But from our perspective, keeping our caregivers safe is the only way we’re going to keep our community safe,” said Kurt Knoth, vice president of supply chain at Spectrum Health.

Spectrum says it’s still accepting donations of medical supplies.