The Strategic National Stockpile is nearly out of the N95 respirators, surgical masks, face, shields, gowns and other medical supplies desperately needed to protect front-line medical workers treating coronavirus patients.
The Department of Health and Human Services told The Associated Press Wednesday that the federal stockpile was in the process of deploying all remaining personal protective equipment in its inventory.
The HHS statement confirms federal documents released Wednesday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee showing that about 90% of the personal protective equipment in the stockpile has been distributed to state and local governments.
HHS spokeswoman Katie McKeogh said the remaining 10% will be kept in reserve to support federal response efforts. […]
Federal contracting records show HHS made an initial bulk order of N95 masks on March 12, followed by larger orders on March 21. But those contracts won’t yield big deliveries to the national stockpile until the end of April, after the White House has projected the pandemic will reach its peak.
* First, the federal government strictly limited the number of tests at first responder and medical worker drive-through sites to no more than 250 per day. And now this…
Some local officials are disappointed the federal government will end funding for coronavirus testing sites this Friday. In a few places those sites will close as a result. This as criticism continues that not enough testing is available. […]
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells NPR, “Many of the Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) are not closing, but rather transitioning to state-managed sites on or about April 10.”
The agency and a spokesperson for FEMA say the CBTS program originally included 41 sites. It was intended as a stop-gap to bring testing to critical locations, especially for health care facility workers and first responders.
“The transition will ensure each state has the flexibility and autonomy to manage and operate testing sites within the needs of their specific community and to prioritize resources where they are needed the most,” the HHS spokesperson said.
It often feels like we are living through a worst-case scenario.
*** UPDATE *** Press release…
Congressmen Darin LaHood (IL-18) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) today announced that the federal government will extend their funding and support for the McLean County COVID—19 testing facility. Congressman LaHood and Davis released the following joint statement after their visit today at the site.
“Today, we are pleased join federal, state, and local officials in McLean County to announce that the federal government will extend their support and funding for the COVID—19 testing facility at the McLean County Fairgrounds,” said the Congressmen. “The coronavirus pandemic calls on each of us to put aside our political differences and work together to overcome this health and economic crisis. We are pleased that the federal government moved swiftly to expand their support Illinois’ testing ability.
“We also want thank the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, Brig. Gen. Richard Neely, his servicemen and women, and the McLean County Health Department for their tireless work to keep this site running and our community safe. In Congress, we’ll continue to work with our colleagues and the White House in a bipartisan manner to support the McLean County testing site and Illinois’ response.”