Connecticut joins multi-state purchasing consortium for protective equipment and medical supplies

Gov. Ned Lamont, right, joins New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a virtual press conference Sunday to announce the multi-state buying group.

Connecticut will join six other states in forming a consortium to purchase protective gear, medical equipment and testing supplies – an effort to save money and prepare for a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus.

Governor Ned Lamont and leaders from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Delaware will participate in the coordinated effort. States will work together to identify the region’s needs, aggregate demand and stabilize the supply chain, officials said on Sunday.

“We have just driven up prices through our own competition,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “It was a limited offer. It was mainly in China. And then you have 50 states and all these private entities and the federal government trying to buy from China. It just didn’t make sense.

The seven states will coordinate policies on the inventory of personal protective equipment – such as masks, gloves, and gowns – and on the types of equipment that each local government should have available for first responders or workers. private and nonprofit groups, officials said. The consortium is also looking to purchase ventilators and disinfectant, among other medical items.

States will find suppliers in the region or country who can meet demand over the next three months.

Cuomo said New York has spent $ 2 billion on medical supplies so far this year. He estimated that the seven states would together buy around $ 5 billion.

“We will buy protective equipment, ventilators, medical equipment as a consortium … which will make us more competitive in the international market, and I think this will save taxpayers money,” he said. declared. “I also think it will help us get the equipment. We’re still having a hard time getting the equipment because these vendors across the way deal with countries, they deal with the federal government. Why should they do business with a state when they can do business with a whole country? “

Connecticut has faced difficulties obtaining medical supplies and protective equipment. Frontline staff like nurses and doctors complained of a shortage, and nursing home workers described making equipment from garbage bags and other household items because they didn’t were not available at work.

While awaiting deliveries from the National Reserve and other suppliers, Lamont has launched an urgent appeal for donations of protective equipment. Tens of thousands of articles were given by large and small businesses, by schools and by individuals.

Several state parks closed Sunday after their lots reached maximum capacity.

Lamont said on Sunday that the multi-state collaboration would increase purchasing power.

“As global supply chains continue to experience major disruption as a result of the pandemic, the combination of our states’ efforts in a regional procurement initiative will help our states obtain necessary PPE and other medical equipment without competing with each other. “, did he declare. “I have been advocating for a long time for the federal government to get involved, because pitting the 50 states against each other to compete for these supplies has never made sense.”

As they prepare for a possible second wave in the fall, governors have said they don’t want to wait for help.

“I don’t want to sit here and just say I’m going to wait for help from the federal government,” Cuomo said. “Whatever help they give us, it’s great. But it is also clear from the federal government that it depends on the governors. Anything we can do on our own so as not to depend on anyone is the best.

Hospitalizations decrease, deaths increase

Connecticut officials reported a total of 2,495 statewide deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, an increase of 59 from figures released on Saturday.

Hospitalizations fell to 1,488 from a total of 1,551 reported on Saturday.

Fairfield County had the most hospitalizations and deaths, with 514 and 886, respectively. Hartford County had the second highest number of deaths, with 756, and New Haven County, third, with 580 New Haven County had the second highest number of hospitalizations – 505 – and Hartford County had the third highest, with 368.

State officials did not disclose the number of new COVID-19 positive cases or other testing information, saying they were stepping back on Sunday to catch up on data collection and processing . The death toll and hospitalization report released on Sunday was current from 8:30 p.m. Saturday, they said.

“This allows them to clean the data,” said Max Reiss, spokesperson for Lamont. “So that means tomorrow’s numbers will be the totals for Sunday and Monday.”

State parks reach maximum capacity again

For the second day in a row, Connecticut officials closed several state parks after their parking lots had reached full capacity.

As of 3 p.m. Sunday, 15 parks were closed. They are: Southford Falls State Park (Southbury); CP Huntington State Park (Newtown, Bethel, Redding); Sleeping Giant State Park (Hamden); Bigelow Hollow State Park (Union); Wadsworth Falls State Park (Middletown); Devil’s Hopyard State Park (East Haddam); Talcott Mountain State Park (Simsbury); Penwood State Park (Bloomfield); Sherwood Island State Park (Westport); Topsmead State Forest (Litchfield); Harkness Memorial State Park (Waterford); Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison); Silver Sands State Park (Milford); Rocky Neck State Park (East Lyme); and Mansfield Hollow State Park (Mansfield).

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has issued guidelines recommending people keep visits to the park brief and recommended visitors to wear face masks and practice social distancing.

The department has reduced parking capacity in some places to prevent large crowds from congregating.

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