PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown expressed her frustration with the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic in a teleconference call with reporters Friday afternoon.
Brown said she sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence on March 3, and the next day, he assured her help was on the way.
She specifically asked for 600,000 surgical masks, 400,000 N-95 respirators, gowns and gloves, face shields or goggles, suits, protective gear and ventilators.
The state only has 688 ventilators, which experts say is nowhere near enough if coronavirus cases keep increasing at the same pace over the coming weeks.
She didn't hear back for days, and instead checked in with the CDC and HHS about her request. Eventually, she heard back Thursday that only about 10% of her request would be filled.
"It's been extremely inadequate," Gov. Brown said of the federal government's response. "We've been contacting this administration every single day since then and we have received nothing. Zip. Zero. Nothing from them ... This is exposing, I would say not cracks but canyons in our federal healthcare system."
Here are the items that will be shipped to Oregon:
- N95 masks: 36,800
- Surgical equipment: 87,000
- Face shields: 16,700
- Surgical gowns: 13,700
- Coveralls: 7,070
- Gloves: 48,500
As for Oregon's woeful capacity to test for coronavirus (testing up to 40 people a day), Gov. Brown said the state has certified five labs to conduct their own testing for coronavirus.
"We need more capacity," Gov. Brown said. "The president approved roughly 2 million new tests [Friday]. Honestly, it's too little too late and it's absolutely inadequate."