Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price returns to work, announces new partnership to decontaminate used N95 masks

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price made her first public appearance since going into self-isolation.

Last month, the mayor was exposed to someone who tested positive. However, she did not test positive.

Price announced a partnership with a company that can decontaminate used N95 respirators for healthcare workers and first responders.

It is one of 60 units across the United States and six in Texas where N95 respirators will be decontaminated. It’s for medical professionals and first responders to extend the life of much-needed PPE by cleaning and returning them as soon as possible.

Mayor Betsy Price made her first public appearance in weeks after isolating at home because she came into contact with a city employee who tested positive.

“I feel great, and I’m just looking forward to seeing people again and being able to do my job,” she said.

First up on her agenda was touring a new PPE decontamination site at the Will Rogers Complex in Fort Worth.

“It allows us to have a stockpile,” Price said. “Should we have a surge or should we have a second wave of this virus, then we’ll have extras there.”

The City of Fort Worth partnered with the research and development organization, Battelle, to decontaminate N95 respirators so they can be reused. Battelle received federal money to fund similar sites across the country for the next six months.

“The quality assurance that goes into the process is rigorous,” said Fort Worth Fire Chief Jim Davis. “The masks are tested during the QA process when they come out to make sure that there is no contaminate on the mask.”

Davis says the city’s PPE supply is sufficient for now, but he’s relieved this site can help extend the life of that supply.

And while many businesses in North Texas are slowly reopening, Price warns it’s not the time for anyone to ease up on wearing protective gear and practicing social distancing.

“This is about personal responsibility. People need to remember who it is that they were staying home for and who they love,” Price said. “Because you could easily be taking this home to your loved ones.”