After Gov. Phil Murphy only received a portion of the much needed COVID-19 supplies that he requested from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNP) for the health care workers around New Jersey, Rep. Bill Pascrell and Sen. Bob Menendez pushed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) begin to expedite the delivery of specific items.
At his press conference March 21, the Governor stated “We desperately need another slug from the Strategic Stockpile which we continually are asking for from our federal partners. That to me is the here and now. Both to protect the healthcare workers as well as to treat the patients as best we can.”
The SNS is the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.
Among the personal protection equipment to be delivered are N95 Respirators, face and surgical masks, face shields, surgical gowns and coveralls.
Exactly how many of the supplies did they actually get in New Jersey? According the letter sent by Pascrell and Menendez on March 16 to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Robert Kadlec, the state received only 3% of the essential N95 Respirators, requesting 2,880,000 and actually getting 84,578, and just 23% of the valuable face and surgical masks, requesting 864,000 and receiving a mere 201,479.
The same number of coveralls, surgical gowns, and face shields were requested, 846,000. But, workers were only delivered 4.4% of the facial shields they needed, 3.5% of the gowns, and .01%, or 160, of the coveralls requested.
Looking for Delivery Date
The delegation pushed to know exactly when New Jersey was going to begin receiving more of these necessary and vital supplies, and asked for SNP to lay out a timetable for the future delivery of the equipment. Additionally, the members questioned if SNP was being properly replenished with supplies after such a small amount was sent to New Jersey.
Rep. Pascrell and Senator Menendez are increasingly concerned about the limited distribution of this equipment, items New Jersey healthcare workers desperately need right now statewide. Lawmakers are alarmed because there have been little to no respiratory supplies or ventilators delivered.
Without these pieces of equipment, health and medical professionals all over the Garden State will be very limited in the amount of effective care they can give in the presence of the quickly spreading coronavirus pandemic.