Some coronavirus testing sites delayed due to lack of personal protective equipment

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The National Guard said a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) might be hindering its ability to administer coronavirus tests.

“There have been cases where they have said they have to delay the opening of the sites until they have the PPE,” National Guard Bureau chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel said at a Pentagon press briefing Wednesday. “Nobody’s doing any testing right now without the appropriate PPE.”

Lengyel noted that 349 guardsmen — on and off duty — have tested positive for the virus, though he didn’t say how many of those guardsmen were activated at the time.

The chief said guardsmen are reusing PPE when possible, much like health care professionals across the country.  

“We’re tracking it very, very closely,” he said. “People are being smart with their PPE, and if they’re able to reuse a mask, they’re probably husbanding them and reusing them as they can.”

On Wednesday, staff from the Department of Health and Human Services told the House panel the federal government’s emergency stockpile of PPE is depleted, and states will not be receiving any more shipments.

Lenyel also announced that an additional 10,000 National Guard troops are expected to be activated to help deal with the coronavirus in the next week or two.

In more than 30 states, the National Guard has been activated to provide medical testing and assessments, facilities, ground transportation, and logistics and planning, among other services.

Tags Coronavirus Personal protective equipment United States National Guard

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