MADISON— As hospitals and clinics work to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, the state is trying to improve health care workers' access to personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). That includes asking the federal government to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure a steady stream of facemasks, gloves, gowns, and other protective items from the SNS is being delivered to states.
“We are committed to making sure these critical supplies are getting to hospitals and clinics as quickly as possible,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “Demand is high though, and what we have received so far from the federal government falls far short of what is needed in the state to protect those who may come into direct contact with the virus. I’m calling on the federal government to take whatever actions are within its power to make sure these supplies are being directed to where they are needed most.”
As of Friday, March 20, the state has received only a small allocation of PPE from the federal government. It is being distributed to direct health care providers in areas with known community spread, to include nursing homes, emergency medical services, and hospitals.
DHS is using bed count information and advice from its medical advisory group to determine where PPE is being sent.
“We know this shipment won’t get to every organization that needs it,” Evers said. “DHS is working with the state emergency command structure, including the National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management, to identify additional sources and obtain more from the stockpile.”
The state also continues to work with partners in the public and private sectors to identify additional sources of PPE that can be made available to medical facilities and other first responders.
“My hope is that we can quickly identify consistent supply lines to make sure this equipment is being delivered to those in the state who need it most,” Evers said. “We will continue to make this a priority, due to the importance of protecting those who are at risk of being exposed to this virus.”