Gov. Evers Announces One Million N95 Masks Shipped for Wisconsin’s Distribution System

November 23, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers speak with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Today, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said the state has shipped its one-millionth N95 mask as part of ongoing efforts to ensure frontline workers have access to the critical personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to limit their exposure to COVID-19. The announcement comes after Evers recently instituted a pair of emergency orders issuing a new mask mandate and public health emergency for the state’s overwhelmed hospitals. 

“Ensuring frontline workers, first responders, and local communities have access to PPE— especially N95 masks— has been a top priority for us since the beginning of this pandemic,” said Evers. 

He continued, “I want to extend my thanks to the state workers, local emergency management, and public health partners who have played a critically important role in this process and have worked tirelessly to ensure these lifesaving masks and other critical supplies are getting where they are needed most.” 

The N95 masks for frontline workers were shipped through a supply chain that was established in the spring by Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Department of Health Services, and other state partners. 

As part of the Wisconsin PPE distribution system, the State Emergency Operations Center works with county and tribal emergency managers to identify local needs and critical shortages. Regular shipments are then sent from a state warehouse facility, with local partners distributing allocations based on their assessments of local needs. 

Aside from N95 masks, the SEOC also helps distribute other critical PPE equipment. The Wisconsin state distribution system also works in conjunction with the Strategic National Stockpile and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as with private vendors, in the state’s purchasing orders of PPE. 

The cost of the PPE itself is shouldered by the state of Wisconsin, not at the expense of those receiving the PPE. 

The shipment comes at the heels of Governor Evers’ pair of orders declaring that Wisconsinites wear face coverings in public spaces due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the state.

Alongside the mask mandate, Evers also declared a public health emergency for Wisconsin as the state’s hospitals operate at or very near full capacity with the spike of COVID-19 cases. As a result of the surge in cases, Wisconsin health care providers are struggling to keep up with the demand for care. 

“Wisconsin hospitals are overwhelmed and facing staffing shortages,” Evers said last Friday. 

“We continue to see record-setting days of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. We need everyone to stay home and wear a mask if you have to go out,” he continued.

“We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together,” stated Evers. 

To find out more about Wisconsin’s handling of the pandemic, visit Wisconsin’s DHS website

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