N.Y., Neighboring States to Form Consortium to Buy Medical Supplies

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that New York State will join with six other states in the Northeast to establish a consortium to buy personal protection equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies.

New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Delaware along with New York will attempt to leverage their collective purchasing power to get a more competitive price for gowns, masks, gloves, ventilators and other items along with keeping each state’s hospitals properly outfitted with supplies. It is the same seven-state partnership that was established last month to coordinate a regional reopening plan.

“I believe it will save taxpayers money,” Cuomo said. “I also believe it will help us get the equipment because we have trouble still just getting the equipment and just buying the equipment because these vendors on the other side, they’re dealing with countries, they’re dealing with the federal government. Why should they do business with one state when they can do business with an entire country?”

For much of the coronavirus crisis, governors have been left to their own devices and partner neighboring states because of the lack of basic medical equipment procured through the federal government.

Cuomo said about $2 billion is spent in New York State each year for medical equipment. Collectively, the other five other states account for about $5 billion.

“The consortium, I think, will help us get the equipment and help us get it at a better price,” he said.

Joining Cuomo via technology for his Sunday briefing were four of the region’s governors. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that each of the seven states will still partner with the federal government on many aspects of the crisis.

“The notion of coordinating together as a region makes enormous sense,” Murphy said.

Cuomo said all 196 of New York State’s hospitals will be required to maintain a 90-day PPE supply and project that stockpile would be used at the same rate as during the worst of the outbreak in anticipation of a potential second wave of the pandemic later this year. There are 20 public and 176 private hospitals in the state.

The governor’s announcements came as he revealed that there were another 280 COVID-19-related deaths on Saturday, the third consecutive day there were less than 300. Hospitalizations fell below 10,000 (9,786) for the first time since mid-March.

The three-day rolling average, at 789 hospitalizations, is also at its lowest point since early on in the crisis. Last week, that number had stalled in the mid-900s for four days.

On Saturday, the state released updated antibody testing figures, showing just over 15,000 tests had been conducted. The latest statistics show that 12.3 percent of those tested statewide have the antibodies, meaning that they had been infected with COVID-19 and have recovered, which likely means they have some level of immunity.

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