NEW BRITAIN, CT — Half a million protective masks, 6 million surgical masks, 100,000 surgical gowns and 100,000 thermometers have been delivered to a warehouse in Connecticut.
Gov. Ned Lamont, who toured the warehouse where it will be counted and shipped out to frontline workers, said the supply would last for 60 days.
“Amazon ain’t got nothing on us,” Lamont bragged at a press briefing inside the warehouse.
The personal protective equipment, which has been in short supply, is one of the largest deliveries the state has received since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We learned pretty early on that Connecticut would have to take the lead on this ourselves,” Lamont said.
But it wasn’t easy. The shipment from China took awhile to make its way to Connecticut.
“We worked every relationship we could find in and around China,” Lamont said. “That’s where almost all the PPE, the masks and the gowns are produced.”
He said he’s grateful to the people of China.
“Today marks another important step as we continue to battle the novel coronavirus,” Lamont said. “I want to personally thank the Chinese people for their continued support during this public health crisis. I would especially like to thank the China Construction Bank for helping facilitate this shipment and for their generous donation. Further cooperation and collaboration between the United States and China is very important as we navigate this global pandemic.”
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said that in one day, this shipment eclipsed all of the combined PPE that the state had received up to May 11.
“This is the culmination of nearly two months of hard work,” Bysiewicz said.
The PPE will be distributed by state agencies and the National Guard through the unified command structure.
But with the first phase of reopening only a week away, Lamont said businesses are largely on their own to get PPE for their staff.
“Look, it’s their job to see if they can get their own PPE. That’s true of not-for-profits, that’s true of nursing homes, that’s true of small businesses,” Lamont said. “We are here as a backstop. I think we’re one hell of a backstop right now.”
As of Monday, Lamont said more than 15 million pieces of PPE had been distributed by the state since March.
Connecticut has 33,765 confirmed cases and it reached a grim milestone Monday announcing that 3,008 residents had died. The number of hospitalizations dropped again to 1,212, and the number of new tests reported also dropped, from 6,623 on Sunday to 2,316 on Monday.
Over the weekend, the Connecticut Department of Public Health distributed the state’s first allotment of remdesivir to acute care hospitals. The medication, produced by Gilead Sciences Inc., has shown promise in helping patients infected with COVID-19. It was recently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients who have severe symptoms of COVID-19.
So far, the state has received 30 cases of 40 doses each, for a total of 1,200 doses. The Lamont administration is working to secure more doses for the state. Gilead has committed to supplying approximately 607,000 vials of remdesivir over the next six weeks to the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is allocating those supplies to the states.