Brindisi and Katko Call on HHS to Provide Central and Upstate New York Critical Supplies

Share

March 20, 2020
Press Release

As COVID-19 Cases Rapidly Grow in New York, Katko and Brindisi Urge Top Health Agency to Provide PPE & Ventilators

 

Brindisi & Katko: Upstate & Central New York In Desperate Need Of Supplies

 

U.S. Reps. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) and John Katko (NY-24) today urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prioritize sending supplies to Upstate and Central New York as the region races to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and cases in New York continue to multiply.

 

Reps. Brindisi and Katko, who have spent this week working with local hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers, and emergency management agencies, have repeatedly heard concerns regarding supply shortages, in particular, of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators.  They today highlighted for HHS the dire need locally, and urged the agency to provide our region with a proportionate share of the 5 million respirator masks and 2,000 ventilators recently made available by the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as those resources available within the Strategic National Stockpile.

 

Katko and Brindisi wrote, “Because New York faces the largest outbreak in the nation, we respectfully request that HHS allocates a proportionate amount of the new and stockpiled PPE and ventilators to providers in New York.  We need to marshal all available resources to ensure that health care workers are not themselves sickened and are able to remain on the frontlines to combat this pandemic.  This is especially true in Upstate and Central New York, which are already facing a critical shortage of health care providers during this crisis.”

 

The text of Katko and Brindisi’s letter can be found below:

 

March 19, 2020

The Honorable Alex Azar

Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Ave. SW

Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Azar:

 

Thank you for your continued work to help the American people respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We write out of great concern for the communities we represent in Upstate and Central New York. New York State now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the nation with over 2,000 cases, and that number will continue to rise. The challenge the health care and emergency response systems in New York are facing is unprecedented. We continue to grapple with supply shortages, in particular personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. The need is dire, with some hospitals reporting to us that they will run out of N95 masks as soon as this week.

 

We were glad to see the Secretary of Defense Esper’s March 17, 2020 announcement that the Department of Defense would make 5 million respirator masks and 2,000 deployable ventilators available to your department. These valuable resources, in addition to the those within the Strategic National Stockpile, will be critical to the coordinated response to COVID-19.

 

Because New York faces the largest outbreak in the nation, we respectfully request that HHS allocates a proportionate amount of the new and stockpiled PPE and ventilators to providers in New York. We need to marshal all available resources to ensure that health care workers are not themselves sickened and are able to remain on the frontlines to combat this pandemic. This is especially true in Upstate and Central New York, which are already facing a critical shortage of health care providers during this crisis. 

 

Thank you for your swift attention to this matter. We look forward to communicating further with your office during this extremely difficult time.