With the shortage of masks for healthcare workers, it seems like finding buried treasure when we at SCTCC find box after box of N95 masks - 800 masks, to be exact.
SCTCC had a supply from the avian flu, and health courses use the masks as part of the instruction process.
After gathering all the masks, Vice President Lori Kloos contacted CentraCare to see if they would be able to use the masks, as some of them are expired. CentraCare responded that they would use them in some capacity.
Using expired N95 masks is an option, according to the CDC. The CDC tested masks manufactured between 2003 and 2013, and they exceeded the manufacturer-designated shelf life.
According to the CDC, users should take some measures before using the masks:
- Visually inspect the N95 to determine if its integrity has been compromised.
- Check that components such as the straps, nose bridge, and nose foam material did not degrade, which can affect the quality of the fit, and seal and therefore the effectiveness of the respirator.
- If the integrity of any part of the respirator is compromised, or if a successful user seal check cannot be performed, discard the respirator and try another respirator.
- Users should perform a user seal check immediately after they don each respirator and should not use a respirator on which they cannot perform a successful user seal check.
CentraCare picked up the masks on April 2.