Washington state will return 400 ventilators received from federal authorities in an effort to assist other states hit hardest by the coronavirus, Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday.
“I’ve said many times over the last few weeks, we are in this together,” Inslee said in a statement. “This should guide all of our actions at an individual and state level in the coming days and weeks.”
The state has purchased an additional 750 ventilators expected to arrive in the coming weeks. Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, the state’s director of COVID-19 Health System Response Management, said that mitigation efforts taken by Washington have lessened the immediate demand for the breathing devices, but urged Washington residents to remain vigilant about social distancing and continue to adhere to the governor’s stay-home order through May 4.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been requesting additional assistance from the federal government, specifically procurement of ventilators, since the number of cases of the novel coronavirus in the Empire State has continued to climb. Washington, at one point, had the greatest number of confirmed cases in the country, but its Saturday total - 7,591 cases with 310 known deaths - is well short of New York state’s 122,031 confirmed cases and 4,159 deaths.
Inslee appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning praising the response of Vice President Mike Pence and the Centers for Disease Control. But he called on President Donald Trump, who has publicly chided Inslee, to organize a more concerted national effort to provide states with needed medical supplies.
“Look, we need a national mobilization of the manufacturing base of the United States, as we’d started on December 8, 1941,” Inslee said, referring to national wartime production following the attack on Pearl Harbor. “We need to nationally mobilize using the Defense Procurement, or Production Act so that we can get these companies, instead of making the cup holders, start making visors, start making test kits.”
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