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Delaware has Received Less than One Percent of COVID-19 Supplies Requested

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Christy Fleming
Christy Fleming
The managing editor of TownSquareDelaware.com, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.

Governor Carney stood before a shipment of “gowns, masks, N95 respirators and hoods” yesterday from the National Stockpile for New Castle County EMS workers. 

Delaware has received just a fraction of medical supplies it has requested from federal emergency officials it says it needs to combat COVID-19. Far less than even 1% of supplies have been provided to the state, based on the total number of asks.

This information was made available by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform, which released Strategic National Stockpile data to the public on Friday. The press release is titled, “New FEMA Documents Show Critical Shortages of Medical Supplies.”

 

Delaware initially requested more than 200 million supplies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — a 120-day supply meant to support its needs for a prolonged surge in hospitalizations. That request came on March 25th, when FEMA asked each state to generate the numbers they needed for a 4-month supply of personal protection equipment.

The Delaware asks included more than a dozen types of supplies, with gloves and surgical masks topping the list.

Figures from the House Oversight committee indicate that as of March 30th, Delaware had received less than one percent of supplies request — two-one-hundredths of a percent, to be exact.

 

Delaware requested nearly 4 million surgical gowns and received just 3,195. Delaware also requested 9.6 million surgical masks and 400,000 N95 respirators, receiving just two-tenths of one percent of surgical masks and 2 percent of N95 respirators. 

The state also requested 50,000 specimen collection kits for testing purposes and received none from FEMA.

A snapshot of the 13 items requested by Delaware to support an expansive hospitalization response included:

PPE / Medical Supply Requested Received % of ask
• Face Shields  355,203 3,918 1.10%
• Gloves  188,706,968 11,180 0.01%
• Isolation/procedural masks 2,784,000 0 0%
• N95 Respirators 396,926 8,518 2.10%
• Specimen Collection Kits 50,000 0 0%
• Surgical Gowns 3,702,904 3,195 0.09%
• Surgical Masks 9,604,665 20,577 0.21%
• Surgical Masks w/ Face Shields 1,749,000 0 0%

The complete list of requested items requested by Delaware state health officials from FEMA can be found here.

 

The FEMA region that includes Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. received less than 10% — and in Delaware’s case less than 1% — of the personal protective equipment and medical supplies the states requested.

FEMA subsequently asked states to provide a 14-day supply order request, which Delaware submitted on April 1. The revised request is based on FEMA’s expectation of shorter periods for hospitalization surges.

According to Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) officials, none of the supplies in the April 1 request have been filled. DEMA spokesperson Jeff Sands made available to us the revised federal request made this month.

 

“We can provide the attached information (excel below) which includes the request made on March 25, 2020, which was not able to be filled, and the request made on April 1, 2020, which also has yet to be filled,” said Delaware Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Jeff Sands.

DEMA and state health officials would not characterize the lack of federal resources that have been granted to Delaware.

But as the state welcomed one if its first shipments of supplies yesterday from the federal stockpile, Governor John Carney said, “You have seen, I’m sure heard on TV, the difficulty that the federal government has had in meeting the needs of local governments. And when you think about the response to an emergency situation, everything we’re doing is at the local level.” Supplies delivered on Monday will be directed to New Castle County Emergency Medical Services personnel.

 

“We have been working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate supply requests from the Strategic National Stockpile, and we have made those requests consistent with guidance from our federal partners,” said Sands.

But health officials around the country have been critical of the federal government’s response to the pandemic and the evolving information about the number of supplies in the Strategic National Stockpile and whether the federal government will hold onto all of their supplies or release some to states.

In every state in the nation, individuals and businesses are clearing out their own shelves of medical supplies to help state efforts. Just this past weekend collections of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies were held at 10 locations throughout the state.

And WDEL reported yesterday that Delaware will receive 100 excess ventilators from California, an announcement that was made during Monday’s lengthy White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.

 

When contacted yesterday, DEMA’s Sands said Delaware has a three-pronged approach to obtaining Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other needed supplies for the ongoing COVID-19 response.

• Using the state’s existing supplies
• Obtaining supplies through open market purchases and donations
• Requesting supplies through the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)

 

Sands suggested that requests might still be revised based on projected hospitalizations and the state’s growing availability of supplies based on recent purchases made and the success of community donations. “Requests are constantly being reevaluated and changed based on communication with FEMA and the availability of supplies.”

One model public health officials are eyeing predicts that the virus’ peak in Delaware could come as early as April 11, but experts have cautioned that more data is needed to fully inform projections.  

Regional FEMA lead MaryAnn Tierney has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. The Trump administration said that Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further assessments.

 

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