Gov. Whitmer: Recent national stockpile of PPE shipment only "enough to cover one shift" | Michigan Radio
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Gov. Whitmer: Recent national stockpile of PPE shipment only "enough to cover one shift"

Mar 23, 2020

Michigan is facing a severe shortage of personal protective equipment for health care workers as the coronavirus crisis deepends
Credit wikimedia commons

Last week, Michigan received a shipment of personal protective equipment from the national emergency stockpile.

The materials were shipped to all 45 local health departments in the state as well as the state's eight healthcare coalitions, divvied up by population.

But the total was a tiny fraction of what health care workers will need as they face an expected surge in COVID-19 patients. Hospitals across Michigan began accepting and soliciting donations over the weekend.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in a Monday morning address announcing a stay at home order, broke it down this way:

"We just received our allotment from the federal government's National Strategic Stockpile. The allotment of personal protection equipment for one of our hospitals was 74,795 masks, 204 gowns, 4,467 gloves and 64 face shields. Now, with the exception of the gloves, that allotment is barely enough to cover one shift at that hospital. Not even a full day's worth of shifts  - one shift."

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the total received was:

  • N95 Respirators (approximately 95,000)
  • Surgical Gowns (approximately 35,000)
  • Non-Sterile Gloves (approximately 125,000 pair)
  • Face Shields (approximately 43,000)
  • Surgical Face Masks (approximately 225,000)

A spokeswoman for MDHHS says the state received another shipment from the Strategic National Stockpile over the weekend, but the number of each item is not yet available.

In her address, Whitmer added that the state, on its own, has compiled an additional 4 million gloves, 4 million masks, and "thousands and thousands" of gallons of hand sanitizer.

But she says it will not be enough.

The state also faces a severe shortage of acute care beds in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Whitmer said there are only about 25,000 acute care beds in the state - and if nothing is done to dramatically reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, the number of patients requiring hospitalization could soar to one million.

On Friday, Michigan's Chief Medical Executuve, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said the state only has an estimated 1,000 ventilators and was looking for more.

"I feel like we are making some progress, but if the federal government is able to procure some ventilators and ship them to Michigan we will be incredibly grateful," she said.

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