New Jersey is in the process of building a three-month supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) ranging from N95 masks to surgical gowns in preparation for a possible second wave of COVID-19 or another future pandemic.
Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement and offered specific details during Friday's coronavirus press briefing.
"One of the key things that we have discussed since this pandemic began is the need for us to ensure our long-term resiliency and preparedness for...the next outbreak. And, a key piece of this, is ensuring the supply of Personal Protective Equipment for our frontline healthcare workers including long-term care, and law enforcement and safety personnel," Murphy said. "We cannot again find ourselves in the situation we were all in a few months ago: relying only on the federal government, or on corporate and philanthropic partners."
Murphy went on to say the state needs to have PPE on hand that is ready to be deployed at a moment's notice.
"We need to have PPE at the ready and capable to be deployed at a moment’s notice. Over the past several months...we have undertaken an aggressive program to source the PPE we will need to have a strong three-month supply in our state’s strategic stockpile," he said.
The governor share the amount of supplies already in the state's stockpile, the amount it is currently waiting for and the state's overall goal:
- N95 masks: 4.7 million in stock (goal total of 5 million);
- Surgical masks: 1 million in stock plus 12 million on order to be delivered (goal total of 13 million);
- Face shields: 1.7 million in stock (goal total of 2 million);
- Hospital gowns: 2.1 million in stock plus 1 million on order to be delivered (goal total of 2.8 million);
- Gloves: 1.9 million in stock and 75 million on order to be delivered (goal total of 110 million);
- Remdesivir (antiviral drug): 1,115 cases in stock;
- Ventilators: 1,447 in stock and 500 on order to be delivered (an additional 600 ventilators are found in hospitals throughout the state).
"Much of the spring was spent, specifically, sourcing ventilators. We now have a state stockpile of 1,447 ventilators that we can deploy, literally at a moment’s notice, to any facility that finds itself facing a shortage of these critical devices and we have another 500 on order. We should note that there are currently about 600 ventilators in our hospitals," he said.
Additionally, the governor announced that the state is donating 148 cases -- the equivalent of 6,000 doses -- of the antiviral Remdesivir to 10 states and the Virgin Islands. New Jersey's own remdesivir stockpile is at 1,115 cases.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), remdesivir has been studied in a number clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19. In one trial that included 1,063 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and evidence of lower respiratory tract infection who received the drug had a shorter time to clinical recovery than those who received a placebo.
"Building this stockpile is how we’ve been working to protect against the next wave…or the next pandemic," Murphy said. "We will not be caught unprepared."