Rapid design and implementation of a UVC decontamination room
Industrial and Systems Engineering
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world and the nation, hospitals around the country have experienced shortages in Personal Protective Equipment, specifically N95 filter face-mask respirators (FFRs). This has created the need for facilities to develop sterilization processes to enable reuse of face masks by the health care personnel. Among the various methods of sterilization, UVC light exposure is the easiest to implement given the factors of time, safety, and availability. Face masks and/or other PPE are exposed to UVC light for a specified time to kill any viruses or bacteria that may reside on the surfaces of the masks. A collaborative effort was formed in April of 2020 between Wellstar Health System and Kennesaw State University to (1) setup an appropriate sterilization room at a Wellstar hospital (2) develop the procedural guidelines necessary to ensure quality control and (3) assess employees’ perceptions of the N95 FFR decontamination process and efficacy. This paper will first describe the methodology used to validate the layout of the room, which consists of a rudimentary analytical analysis of the UVC photon intensity from bulb-to-mask, computer simulations to determine the lighting power density throughout the room, and experimental measurements to confirm the appropriate energy deposition. This paper will then document the procedures for handling and processing the pre- and post-sterilized masks followed by employee survey findings. It is the hope of the authors that this paper will serve to provide a generic blueprint for hospitals and other organizations to follow if a future need arises for rapid UVC decontamination.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)