Governor Actions to Address PPE and Ventilator Shortages

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in global demand for critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment, most notably mechanical ventilators and related supplies. In the United States, rapid transmission of COVID-19 has exhausted state and local resources, and stores of PPE in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) have been fully committed. While federal officials contend that state needs for PPE and ventilators can be addressed through the private market, the global shortage and lack of coordination has pitted states against one another and other purchasers – including the federal government – in a bid to secure resources.

Absent the federal government playing a stronger, more coordinated role, governors are leading efforts to address the urgent need for PPE and ventilators, with states increasingly working together to direct resources to parts of the country facing immediate shortages. This memo outlines actions governors have or may consider taking, as well as related federal and private sector efforts. (For a discussion of test kits and related supplies, which are also in high demand, please see the NGA memo on Capacity for COVID-19 Testing – Current Status and Considerations).

All NGA COVID-19 memos can be found here, or visit COVID-19: What You Need To Know for current information on actions States/Territories are taking to address the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as advocacy, policy, and guidance documents for protecting public health and the economy.