Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

With second virus wave coming, Minnesota waits for millions of N95 masks


August 17, 2020

Donaldson Co.

The Minnesota Health Department has been able to secure just three batches of more than 100,000 medical-grade infection-preventing N95 masks since March. Above, a shipment of masks arrived from China in May.

With a second wave of COVID-19 cases expected to hit Minnesota hospitals in coming weeks, the state has millions of medical-grade N95 respirator masks on order for health care workers treating coronavirus patients.

So far about 337,000 of these critical masks have been delivered to the state stockpile since March, while orders for more than 5 million more are still awaiting delivery. A review of the state's purchasing shows those masks will arrive in batches over the next year and a half. Some may never arrive at all.

"This is a make-sure-we're-turning-over-every-stone approach," said Wayne Waslaski, project manager for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's critical care supplies team. "The normal supply chain isn't working."


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