Prepared for future: N.J.’s PPE stockpile reaching impressive totals (including nearly 5M N95 masks)

No one knows when or if the state is going to get hit with a second wave of COVID-19 — or the first wave of another pandemic. But this much appears clear: The state will be ready.

Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking at his COVID-19 briefing Friday, said the state has reached 94% of its stated goal of 5 million N95 masks. The numbers for other items of PPE are equally impressive:

  • Surgical masks: The state has 1 million surgical masks in stock and another 12 million on order to be delivered within the next month;
  • Face shields: The state has 1.7 million of the goal of 2 million;
  • Gowns: The state has 2.1 million in stock and 1 million on order. When they arrive, the state will be 300,000 gowns above its goal;
  • Gloves: The state has 1.9 million, but Murphy said an additional 75 million are on order;
  • Ventilators: The state has 1,447 ventilators that can be deployed at a moment’s notice, with another 500 on order. There currently are 600 ventilators in hospitals.

The PPE stockpile will be held for health care workers, first responders and law enforcement officials, among other key personnel.

Jared Maples, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said the stockpile is only for emergency moments and that each hospital will be required to have a 90-day stockpile in house.

Murphy said state (and hospital) stockpiles ensure long-term resiliency and preparedness for the next outbreak.

“Building this stockpile is how we’ve been working to protect against the next wave — or the next pandemic — even while we continue to fight this one,” he said. “We will not be caught unprepared.”

Murphy has been asked about state totals for some time, but he said Friday he wanted to wait until the state was close to its lofty goals before reporting numbers.

“We cannot again find ourselves in the situation we were a few months ago — relying on the federal government, or corporate and philanthropic partners, to source what we need,” he said. “We need to have PPE at the ready, and capable of being deployed at a moment’s notice.”

While the state is building its stockpiles, Murphy said it has not forgotten about others.

Murphy said the state is donating, through the Department of Health, 148 cases of the antiviral Remdesivir — a total of 6,000 doses — to 10 states plus the Virgin Islands.

Even with this donation, Murphy said the state will have more than 1,100 cases in its stockpile.

“We are happy to assist our fellow states in meeting their needs,” he said.

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