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Wyden, Merkley, Blumenauer, DeFazio, Bonamici Request Urgently Needed Federal COVID19 Aid for Oregon

Mar 13, 2020
Press Release
Lawmakers’ letter to VP Pence cites unmet requests from state for personal protective equipment and additional lab tests

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined with U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Suzanne Bonamici in a letter to Vice President Pence seeking urgently needed COVID-19 aid for Oregon, including surgical masks, respirators, ventilators and more.

The Oregon lawmakers’ letter sent late Thursday noted that Governor Brown has declared a state of emergency in Oregon in response to COVID-19, and that the state has growing and unmet needs from previous state requests. Their letter highlighted previous requests from Oregon for personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies from the strategic national stockpile and additional laboratory testing equipment.

Among the requests made last week on March 3 from the state from the strategic national stockpile, they wrote, were the following:  600,000 surgical or procedural masks, 400,000 N-95 respirators, gowns and gloves, face shields or goggles, Tyvek suits, Biocell Ambulance Protection Systems (Biocell-APS), and 75 to 100 ventilators.

“We urge you to grant this request immediately,” they wrote Pence.

The Oregon lawmakers also wrote in their letter that on March 10, the Oregon State Public Laboratory sent a request to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requesting additional testing kits. Specifically, the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory requested 96 boxes of collection swabs, 96 boxes of transport media, 27 boxes of extraction kits, and 15 boxes of TaqPath Master Mix.

“We appreciate your cooperation securing nearly $8 billion in emergency supplemental funding designed to get states the critical resources they need to respond to COVID-19,” they wrote. “However, there are still many unmet needs and the situation continues to evolve. In particular, we write to draw your attention to a letter sent by Oregon Governor Kate Brown on March 11, 2020, and urge you to work with Congress and with Governor Brown to respond quickly and comprehensively to the Governor’s requests.”

A copy of the lawmakers’ March 12 letter is here.

A web version of this release is here.