Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has been persistent in calling for additional supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic, and on Monday he laid out statistics on just how quickly the state is going through the materials it has on hand.
During his Monday press briefing on the state’s fight against COVID-19, the governor laid out how much PPE the state’s hospitals and long-term care facilities have used in just 10 days.
During that time, 1.5 million N95 masks have been used, along with 25 million gloves, 4.4 million gowns, and 700,000 surgical masks, according to the governor.
The governor warned that when the McCormick Place alternate care facility is fully operational, the state could likely use more than two million N95 masks every 10 days.
Pritzker used the numbers to underscore the vast disparity in what the state has requested from the federal government, and the materials that it has received in response to those calls for support.
“As you can see when you compare our federal shipments to our burn rate, the product we’ve received from the federal stockpile will last only a handful of days in this multi-month battle – it’s our own state procurement initiative that is making the difference,” he said. “To anyone who wants a ‘response’ to some of the blame-shifting coming out of the White House, all I have to say is: look at the numbers.”
According to state officials, the federal government has sent 367,000 N95 masks, while the state has requested more than 10 million. The feds have also sent 1.14 million surgical masks, 693,000 pairs of gloves, 174,000 face shields and 142,000 gowns, all of which are far short of what the state has requested.
Pritzker bluntly informed reporters that the state “hasn’t trusted” the federal government, and has become increasingly self-reliant to procure supplies during the crisis.
“If we had relied upon the White House and its obligation to fulfill our needs from the SNS (strategic national stockpile), our state and nearly every state would come up short and could not protect our healthcare workers and first responders,” Pritzker said.
The governor vowed to continue fighting to obtain more of the critical PPE for nurses, doctors and other health care workers, and said that he will use every tool at his disposal to acquire more equipment as the state moves toward a peak in the number of COVID-19 cases.