MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Hospitals across the Tr-State Area are still facing a shortage of vital supplies because of the spread of coronavirus.

The surge in COVID-19 patients has forced some New Jersey hospitals to get creative with how they get personal protective equipment to their doctors and nurses on the frontlines. Hospitals in the Atlantic Health System Network, including Morristown Medical Center, are now using ultraviolet light machines to sterilize masks.

“There’s a tremendous push from all healthcare facilities to get access to this material,” said Dr. Jason Kessler, an infectious disease physician at Morristown Medical Center. “And there’s just not enough of it.”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Instead of throwing away masks, doctors and nurses at Morristown Medical Center are placing them in a UV machine at the end of their shift. After a few minutes, the UV lighting kills the virus and the mask is returned to the same medical professional who wore it before. Doctors say an N95 mask can be disinfected using UV lighting up to five times before it’s thrown away.

“We will never be able to continue responding to the COVID-19 surge, no matter how flat we keep this curve, unless we can keep our staff safe and healthy,” said Dr. Kessler in an interview with CBS2’s Nick Caloway.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

UV light machines are available for sale online for home use, but experts say people should be careful using these machines because there aren’t many regulations on the consumer machines.

PHOTO GALLERY: A Look Inside NYC’s Viral ‘Warzone’

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