Now that President Donald Trump is making use of the Defense Production Act, U.S. Reps. Anthony Brindisi and John Katko want the federal government to work with manufacturers to address medical supply shortages at central New York hospitals.
Brindisi, D-Utica, and Katko, R-Camillus, wrote a letter to Trump highlighting the importance of coordinating with manufacturing companies to "maintain production in the coming weeks."
Hospitals, the congressmen continued, are facing "severe shortages" in personal protective equipment and ventilators.
"Healthcare providers in central and upstate New York have begun to raise concerns about the impact that this equipment shortage will have on their ability to provide adequate care in the case of a sudden influx of patients," Brindisi and Katko added.
The congressmen support Trump's decision to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost the production of key supplies and ventilators. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked for the federal government's help in acquiring more ventilators — equipment that's needed to treat some COVID-19 patients who are moved to intensive care units.
Because New York has the most confirmed coronavirus cases, there are concerns about hospital capacity and the availability of supplies. More than 7,000 New Yorkers have tested positive for the virus, and over 1,200 people are hospitalized.
With an 18% hospitalization rate, New York is looking for ways to expand the number of hospital beds and acquire more supplies. Cuomo called on companies to be creative and manufacture gloves, gowns, masks and other protective equipment. Several companies already contacted the state about providing equipment.
But with Trump invoking the Defense Production Act, Brindisi and Katko want to ensure that manufacturers can meet the demand.
"As necessary workforce and travel restrictions are deployed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that federal, state and local officials recognize the essential role that these businesses play in supporting our healthcare providers," Brindisi and Katko wrote. "An effective national response to this pandemic is incumbent on the strength of our medical supply chain."
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
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