When the novel coronavirus first broke out in China’s Wuhan province, it triggered a global epidemic that has impacted nearly every country around the world. More than two months into the crisis, our nation’s medical professionals continue to work tirelessly on the front lines—often without the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to protect themselves from COVID-19.
The PPE shortage has dominated COVID-19 headlines, and for good reason. PPE is critical to keeping our doctors, first responders and other medical professionals safe. Here’s the latest news on PPE in America—including updated FDA information, a Made in America bill in Kentucky, progress in Massachusetts and more.
The FDA’s update on PPE shortages
As PPE demand continues to outweigh supply, the FDA has issued new conservation strategies for healthcare providers. This follows a letter by the American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association, which calls for emergency steps to produce the domestic production of PPE.
To support PPE manufacturers, the FDA is offering expedited review of manufacturing site changes or premarket submissions in some cases. Read the FDA’s FAQs on mask and gown shortages, and visit our Resources page for guidance on navigating the FDA approval process.
A Kentucky bill to boost American Made PPE
A newly drafted bill in Kentucky requires all companies that do business with the state’s government agencies to use American Made PPE. Slated for consideration during the 2021 Regular Session, the Made in the USA PPE bill was requested by state Rep. Matt Koch, R-Paris, and state Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville.
Said Rep. Nemes, “We’re learning a great deal from this pandemic, not the least is that we need the security of PPE made here in the United States. We went into this with limited equipment and a PPE supply chain that was nowhere near prepared to serve our health needs and best interests. We have a chance to better prepare for what the future holds and we want to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Hundreds of companies pivot to PPE in Massachusetts
Since launching in April, Massachusetts’ Manufacturing Emergency Response Team has provided more than $10 million in funding for companies looking to manufacture PPE, ventilators and surgical masks. This week, Governor Charlie Baker has reported some good news: More than 600 companies, 400 in Massachusetts, are in the process of pivoting to the protection of PPE. Sneaker brand New Balance and luxury retailer Brooks Brothers are among the companies working to set up PPE manufacturing operations.
New PPE supply requirements in New York
In preparation for another COVID-19 outbreak, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now requiring all hospitals in the state to maintain a 90-day supply of PPE. During his announcement, he called the PPE shortage a “national security issue” and lamented having to rely on New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft to send a private plane to China to secure masks.
New York has also launched a regional buying consortium for PPE with six Northeast states. The group’s goal is to reduce competition, lower prices and secure the PPE required to meet current demand today and during future health events.
Minnesota’s medical mask shortage
In Minnesota, one of the states with the fastest rate of new COVID-19 cases, healthcare workers at United Hospital are speaking out about PPE shortages. A hospital policy—wear masks for a full shift, seal them in bags for five days and then wear them again, up to five times—has sparked concern among medical personnel.
APMA is your advocate, supporter and defender as you produce Made in America PPE. Explore our resources library and our blog for the latest news on domestic PPE manufacturing.