Hundreds of thousands of masks missing from federal shipments to Michigan

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Hundreds of thousands of masks went missing from federal shipments containing the equipment to Michigan as the state continues to battle the rising number of COVID-19 cases, state officials said.

State officials told The Detroit News Wednesday that they were 225,000 surgical masks short of what the federal government said it sent from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). 

The state was supposed to receive 450,000 masks, but it obtained about half of that, a spokeswoman from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services told the news outlet. 

The spokeswoman, Lynn Sutfin, told The Hill that the SNS “was aware of the missing masks as it was reported to them after we completed an inventory of Michigan’s shipment.”

“We received notification yesterday evening that we should receive those masks tonight,” she said in a statement. 

Michigan’s health department said it has received 190,000 N95 respirators, about 250,000 non-sterile gloves, 70,000 surgical gowns and 86,000 face shields in two federal shipments, according to The Detroit News. The first shipment was distributed to 45 local health departments and eight health care coalitions on a population-formula basis.

Sutfin told The Detroit News that the shipments are “nowhere near enough.”

Federal officials are reportedly giving out 25 percent of the stockpile to states according to population size and 25 percent to states with the greatest need, while leaving 50 percent for “strategic reserve.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), along with other governors, has pressured the federal government to send more medical supplies and protective gear for health care workers. The governor’s office said Wednesday they were drafting a major disaster declaration request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) told The Detroit News that the governor’s office has not been specific in its requests for supplies. 

“My job is not to just vaguely grocery shop,” Mitchell told the news outlet.

Michigan has recorded 2,856 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, leading to 60 deaths, according to the state’s heath department. About 85 percent of the cases documented are in Metro Detroit’s three counties.

This report was updated March 26, 6:21 p.m.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Detroit medical masks medical supplies Michigan Paul Mitchell strategic national stockpile
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