As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to impact the availability of sterile wrap, surgical centers and hospitals are finding themselves unprepared for the shortage as supplies are running out. Industry chatter about a supply chain disruption began early on when suppliers ran dry and people unsuccessfully tried to purchase directly from manufacturers.

Sterile processing consultant, David Jagrosse, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years and is a long-time member and former president of IAHCSMM (International Association of Health Care Service Material Management) explains, “It turns out that without the regular flow of elective surgeries, impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, a great deal of sterile wrap base material (polypropylene) had been allocated for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Some facilities have already or are considering the move to rigid containers, specifically ONE TRAY®, to address both the immediate shortage and the long-term goal of eliminating sterile wrap which is prone to holes, tears, and wetness.”

“As the pandemic advanced, surgical centers and hospitals stopped doing elective procedures, so less sterile wrap was being used,” said Jagrosse. “So, one would think we would have had plenty of stock. This was not the case as many hospitals became resourceful and created facemasks and shields utilizing the actual sterile wrap on hand which really helped a lot of frontline workers.” Early in the pandemic, ONE TRAY® made a similar move to help combat the PPE shortage and donated 250,000 filters to be used for face protection to hospital and community workers.

Today, Jagrosse advises medical companies on industry compliance, helping them meet efficiency and safety standards. “The shortage wasn’t from the suppliers,” he said, “it originated with the manufacturers who had reallocated the base materials to making PPE. Sprinkle in a disruption of the global supply chain and it created shortages.”

ONE TRAY® has always provided a clinically-proven, more environmentally-friendly alternative to sterile wrap. The sealed, rigid sterilization container from Innovative Sterilization Technologies (IST) offers the safe transport, with a 48hr storage period, of the enclosed devices without the need for a sterile wrap or the risk of contamination caused by associated holes or tears so common with routine handling.

“Regardless of how carefully handled, sterile wrap is still vulnerable to damage,” said Barbara Ann Harmer, MHA, BSN, RN, Vice President of Clinical Services at IST. As a surgical nurse, Harmer knows the sterilization procedure well and was already a user of ONE TRAY® when it first hit the market. Today, Harmer is responsible for advising educational teams and distributors in clinical applications, science, and technology of the tray.

“If any part of sterile wrap has a hole in it or is torn, the contents become contaminated and the whole process has to start over again,” she continued. “That is a delay that compromises safety and disrupts everything from vendor preparation to surgery scheduling.”

“As part of the healthcare community, we (ONE TRAY®) want to help direct resources where they need to be, helping to further secure the safety of our healthcare workers,” Harmer said. “In this case, there is an effective, scientifically-proven alternative to sterile wrap for maintaining sterile instrumentation in the OR. ONE TRAY® is a reliable product for sterilization being an efficient, effective and economical alternative to wrap – shortage or no shortage.”

Environmental impact is also a consideration for the transition from sterile wrap to rigid containers. In fact, sterile wrap is recyclable, but the process incurs cost and labor. The ONE TRAY® containers are reusable, with far less waste, and can provide sterilization efficiencies unlike sterile wrap or other rigid containers. In addition, each tray is warranted for life and if it is ever damaged, IST will repair or replace it direct from the manufacturer, free of charge.

For more information on how ONE TRAY® can be the solution to staying on schedule due to the sterile wrap shortage, contact us at 937.619.0138 or email