WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Wisconsin experiences one of the most serious outbreaks of COVID-19 in the nation and shatters daily records for new infections, hospitalizations and deaths, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is once again calling on President Donald Trump to take urgent action to deliver the medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) that health care providers and other essential workers in the state of Wisconsin need.
Senator Baldwin has previously called on President Trump and Vice President Pence to deliver critically-needed medical supplies to Wisconsin. In April, Senator Baldwin called on President Trump to act to deliver supplies to Wisconsin. In August, Baldwin wrote to Vice President Mike Pence, Chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, about reports of federal diversions of testing supplies from Wisconsin, which is leading to a reduction of COVID-19 testing and the suspension of pre-procedure testing for several surgical specialties.
Today, Senator Baldwin wrote to the president, “On April 13, 2020, I wrote to you on behalf of Wisconsinites calling for the supplies needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In my letter, I urged you to act to deliver this assistance swiftly. It is now six months later, and Wisconsin is still experiencing supply shortages, which couldn’t come at a worse time. Wisconsin is currently experiencing one of the most serious outbreaks in the nation, and health care providers continue to share concerns about supply shortages. It is long past time for you to show leadership and take action to support our state with the supplies that we need and deserve.”
Hospitals across Wisconsin are overcapacity and reporting that they do not have needed medical supplies or beds available for patients. In her letter to President Trump, Senator Baldwin details concerns from Dr. Imran Andrabi, the President and CEO of ThedaCare, a community health system in Northeastern Wisconsin, that is still facing diversions of testing supplies, and is currently preparing for a shortage of N95 masks, which are critically needed to safely treat patients with COVID-19. ThedaCare’s situation is not unique. Frontline health care workers at Bellin Health in Green Bay are wearing N95 masks for longer than recommended while facing a potential shortage of surgical gowns. For months, Bellin’s administrators have struggled to identify a reliable supplier. Since April, UW-Health in Madison has experienced consistent shortages of the reagent needed for a number of their testing platforms. In August, Advocate Aurora, a non-profit health care system with a presence in Wisconsin, was forced to suspend pre-procedure testing due to supply diversions directed by the Trump administration. And on October 6, the Greenfield Fire Department tweeted at President Trump, expressing their need for testing equipment and N95 masks.
“Throughout this crisis, I have called on you to provide Wisconsin with the supplies we need to combat COVID-19. However, you have mismanaged the federal distribution of medical supplies we need and failed to work constructively with Congress to reach agreement on additional COVID-19 relief funding that our state desperately needs. On October 11, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said the federal government was ready to help Wisconsin in its current COVID-19 surge. Now, more than ever, Wisconsin needs your leadership to provide us with testing supplies and N95 masks. We cannot afford more of your empty promises, and we cannot afford to wait,” Senator Baldwin wrote to the president.
The latest letter to President Trump is available here.
An online version of this release is available here.