Coronavirus in Ohio Sunday update: 1,653 cases, 29 deaths; DeWine addresses FDA mask decision

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced he will be having a news conference Sunday to discuss the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in the state and the FDA’s decision to limit Battelle’s mask sterilizing technology. 

As of Sunday, there were 1,653 cases reported in Ohio, 403 leading to hospitalizations and 29 deaths.

During Saturday’s news conference, DeWine stated that there would not be a news conference Sunday.  

However, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow Columbus-based Battelle to sterilize only 10,000 surgical masks in Ohio each day, DeWine announced he and Lt. Governor Jon Husted would be holding a news conference after all.  

DeWine announced on Twitter that he had talked to President Donald Trump, who said he’ll do everything he can to get it approved Sunday.

During Sunday’s news conference, DeWine praised Battelle Labs for developing the machine to sterilize up to 80,000 masks per day.

DeWine said he got word around 1 a.m. that the FDA had approved the use of the machine, but only on a limited fashion. DeWine said he was angry about the decision to limit the use.

Minutes before Sunday’s press conference, DeWine said he spoke with the FDA commissioner who assured him that the situation would be cleared up Sunday.

Battelle CEO Lewis Von Thaer discussed the approval process Sunday. He said Battelle has been researching the process for a number of years.

Using the Battelle process, each mask can be reused up to 20 times.

Battelle has units on the way to many areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late Sunday night, the FDA cleared Battelle to sterilize N95 masks at max capacity, and operate the systems in other states.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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