Pennsylvania Governor’s Administration Highlights Efforts to Ensure that PPE is Available, Accessible and Plentiful

Six months after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf today highlighted the Wolf Administration’s efforts to respond to the state’s critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure that mitigation-related products, from masks and medical equipment to cleaning and sanitation supplies, are available, accessible and plentiful.

“In the early days of the pandemic, this administration took numerous steps to secure sources of PPE to ensure that Pennsylvanians were protected and that our health system was not overwhelmed,” Gov. Wolf said. “Our proactive and ongoing efforts to secure PPE, coupled with the flexibility and ingenuity displayed by Pennsylvania’s business community, helped us secure and allocate PPE. Because of the steps we took, our hospitals were not overburdened, and our medical system was not strained. Now, six months after the virus first appeared in the commonwealth, we can say with confidence that we are prepared to stay safe as we continue to fight this pandemic.”

Among myriad actions to support Pennsylvania’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Wolf signed an order in April to provide critical aid to hospitals with targeted PPE and supplies distribution.

The Wolf Administration is also working with eligible organizations that may be experiencing a shortage of respirators to connect them with the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS), which provides free decontamination and reuse of N95 respirators as needed during a time of crisis. The system uses a vaporous hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate up to tens of thousands of N95 masks a day.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became evident that we needed to take definitive steps to acquire and manufacture PPE because we could not solely rely on existing systems to adequately supply the quantities we felt we would need,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. “Without the combined efforts of multiple state agencies, strategic investment in Pennsylvania-based manufacturers and strong public-private partnerships, we would not have been able to acquire and distribute the critical PPE needed to protect our front line healthcare workers and first responders.”

The Wolf Administration created several opportunities to connect PPE-producing/distributing businesses to hospitals, medical facilities and other businesses.

The Critical Donations Portal was developed for individuals, corporations, or community organizations to inform the commonwealth of critical medical supplies available for donation.

The Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal was developed to source the most needed supplies for medical providers, emergency responders and health care professionals. This portal is for manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers to inform the state of supplies available for purchase and will allow us to more quickly and efficiently procure these supplies for hospitals and medical facilities across Pennsylvania.

The Manufacturing Call to Action Portal was developed to match manufacturers and distributors to fill specific supply chain needs to meet increasing demands for medical supplies and related products, assist manufacturers that have workforce needs or gaps and aid them in identifying skilled workers, and identify manufacturers that can pivot or innovate to fulfill the demand for medical supplies and related products.

The Business-to-Business Interchange Directory connects organizations and businesses directly to manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of COVID-19-related products and supplies. This directory is made available to entities that contacted the commonwealth through the portals.

These resources are all available through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

“Our businesses and manufacturers showed us what is best about Pennsylvania throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — our innovation and can-do spirit,” said DCED Sec. Dennis Davin. “Companies stepped up when we needed them, providing products to protect their employees, communities, and the commonwealth as a whole. Today, we thank and applaud them for those efforts.”

The governor and Wolf Administration officials held the news conference at Americhem International, a Middletown-based wholesale distributor of janitorial and sanitizing products that serves a variety of industries, including commercial cleaning, hospitality, healthcare and more.

Americhem, which offers a variety of COVID-related mitigation products, is on the administration’s Business-to-Business Interchange Directory.