On Thursday, members of the Florida delegation sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, urging him to fulfill requests made by the Florida Division of Emergency Management for medical resources and personnel to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In the letter, which was led by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the members highlighted the need for these resources to be delivered within the next 48 hours and asked for the request to be fulfilled immediately so the Florida government could continue working diligently to combat coronavirus.
Besides Gaetz, other members who signed the letter include U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Val Demings, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Al Lawson, D-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., Francis Rooney, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Ross Spano, R-Fla., Greg Steube, R-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla., Dan Webster, R-Fla., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla.
The text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. Vice President:
We write this letter to urge you to fulfill the requests made by Director Jared Moskowitz of the Florida Division of Emergency Management for vital medical supplies, equipment, and personnel required to protect healthcare professionals, treat patients, and combat the spread of Covid-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults and those who suffer from underlying medical conditions are at a greater risk to contract Covid-19. The State of Florida has a massive influx of tourism, which escalates the risk of spreading the virus to the 4.4 million residents over the age of 65 — the most likely to require hospitalization and intensive care. Separating healthy patients from those who are receiving treatment is imperative. Florida is requesting 5,000 ventilators, DMAT teams, mobile ICUs, 5,000 field cots and medical personnel with experience dealing with outbreaks.
Typically, patient care in Healthcare facilities, Assisted Living Facilities, and Long-term Care Facilities does not require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Therefore, the supply on hand is limited in these facilities. Florida has depleted the supplies requested from the Strategic National Stockpile and orders placed with private vendors are not expected to be received for over a month. The State of Florida is requesting 100,000 16oz bottles of hand sanitizer, 50,000 bottles of 2oz hand sanitizer, 3,150,000 N95 masks, 800,000 Tyvek Coveralls, 1,150,000 gloves, 300,000 goggles, 1,300,000 gowns, and 1,150,000 respirator masks equal to N95 masks to distribute to these facilities and hospitals across the State.
The burn rate for these supplies is approximately 350,000 per day. The State of Florida expects to deplete their resources within the next 48 hours. Time is of the essence, and there is a grave need to replenish these supplies. I urge you to send the necessary supplies to fulfill this request immediately. Lives are on the line.