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Gov. Whitmer signs bill allowing Michigan to create its own emergency stockpile of medical supplies

Hospitals are facing widespread shortages of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers. Columbia University alumni associations are raising money to purchase much needed N95 masks, seen here, gowns and other gear.
Hospitals are facing widespread shortages of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers. Columbia University alumni associations are raising money to purchase much needed N95 masks, seen here, gowns and other gear.

Supporters say it also helps make sure emergency responders will have enough personal protective equipment.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday signed a bill creating an emergency stockpile of medical supplies.

The new law requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to maintain two months’ worth of personal protective equipment and other items.

Republican state Representative Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond) sponsored the legislation.

He says it’s a response to lessons learned in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“Emergency responders weren’t running out initially but based on the duration. So it wasn’t necessarily in March, it was more like when we got into end of March, April, May that people were burning through or using up their PPE.”

Yaroch says Health and Human Services already has some of the PPE supplies on hand.

Elizabeth Hertel is the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She says it’s important to have a secondary supply in case of shortages.

“We actually have a number of items stockpiled already as a result of the previous year and a half. We have been working very hard to ensure that we had a supply maintained throughout the pandemic,” she said.

The new law requires MDHHS to maintain the stockpile in case of a declared state of disaster or emergency.

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