Sun. Apr 18th, 2021

By CUNEYT DIL, The Associated Press

Charleston, WVA (AP) – West VirginiaThe last state to report a coronovirus case, spent significantly less on medical gear in the early months of the epidemic, N95 masks, gloves and other protective equipment worth less than $ 3.6 million, an Associated Press analysis shows.

While other states spent millions, sometimes relying on brand new companies that failed to fulfill the promised orders, West Virginia Most are spent on a handful of distributors. It did not buy any ventilators.

On Saturday, the state spent more than $ 8 million on equipment related to the virus outbreak, said Lawrence Messina, a spokeswoman for the state’s epidemic response. But some of those expenses were not included in the public records returned to the AP seeking detailed purchase orders.

The AP found that states nationwide spent more than $ 7 billion this spring for personal protective equipment and high-demand medical devices such as ventilators and infrared thermometers. The data, obtained through open record requests, is by far the most comprehensive form of how many states were buying, who they were paying for and how much they were spending because they supplied scarce items.

The data cover the period from the emergence of COVID-19 in the US to the beginning of summer in early 2020, when many governors were describing the market for protective gear and medical devices as the Wild West. Supplies often went to the highest bidder, even if they were promised to someone else.

Messina said, “Given the epidemic’s global reach, West Virginia was buying everything a potential vendor could afford to be weighed on and trusted.” “It is not an exaggeration that the shortage was worldwide. As a result, West Virginia had to consider companies that could obtain PPE from overseas. “

The state of about 1.8 million people did not report a virus case until March 17. Republican Justice Jim Justice ordered a week to remain at home.

That day, according to records, the state placed more than $ 1.1 million for 200,000 N95 masks from Martinsburg-based Ballard Safety. It paid an average of $ 5.80 for each mask, which was about 50 cents before the epidemic. According to AP’s analysis, this spring, states paid an average of $ 3.

Two days later, the state placed a very cheap order for 400,000 N95 masks. This time, it paid just 87 cents per mask to industrial supply company Fastenal.

West Virginia did not crack 10,000 confirmed cases until the end of August, and its outbreak has dramatically deteriorated since then. Daily case totals have broken records several times in recent weeks. Confirmed and potential deaths associated with COVID-19 exceeded 1,000 this week. About 57,900 confirmed cases have been reported.

Initially the bulk of the state’s three dozen orders went from initial price mask orders and Fastlane to Ballard Safety, where it spent a total of $ 1.5 million to purchase N95 and KN95 masks, goggles, gloves and coveralls.

West Virginia spent anywhere from 77 cents to about $ 6 for the N95 mask at the three suppliers. The most expensive item that was purchased was a single $ 226 thermometer from lab supplier Thomas Scientific.

Messina said Fastlane was initially “skilled at providing small quantities”, but the state looked at vendors who could fulfill large orders.

Other expenditures in AP’s analysis include:

– About $ 6,000 for 60,000 gloves New York Wholesalers DirectGlove.

– 20 thermometers purchased on Amazon for $ 92 each.

– Appa, about $ 245,000 on a 42,600 N95 mask from Greenville South Carolina-Bed seller it cost $ 5.75 per mask.

– $ 55 for a lab coat from Allheart.

The state had gloves, gowns, covers, N95 respirators and safety goggles shielded from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. He said that the state has also received personal protective equipment from the reserves of the federal government and the reserve has adequate ventilators.

“We think we have a solid security stock for the state, and the medical supply system is on hold,” Messina said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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