FEMA delivers 230,000 N95 masks to Wisconsin.

A month after the state filed for federal assistance in providing personal protective equipment, FEMA delivered hundreds of thousands of N95 masks. Photo: FDA, public domain.

Author: Sam Buisman

FEMA delivered 230,000 N95 masks to Wisconsin on Thursday, over one month after the state filed its request.

According to a press release from Governor Tony Evers, state officials received a delivery of the respirators from FEMA on Thursday, along with new medical technologies to decontaminate the masks and extend their lifespan. This delivery comes over a month after the Governor filed a request for personal protective equipment and COVID-19 tests with the agency on March 26.

Through a press release, Governor Evers thanked FEMA but also noted the continued scarcity of such equipment.

“Staff at the State Emergency Operations Center has been working tirelessly to acquire PPE, and these masks will be a welcome addition to the supply chain they have worked to establish,” said the Governor. “However, it only addresses a small portion of the ongoing need in Wisconsin for reliable access to PPE.”

The state government will distribute the respirators to county and tribal emergency managers, who in turn will supply them to local providers.

In addition to the masks, FEMA provided the state with a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System. According to the press release, this system can decontaminate tens of thousands of N95 masks per day with hydrogen peroxide gas and can clean a mask up to 20 times without damaging its filter.

This delivery comes after Wisconsin officials put pressure on FEMA to fulfill the state’s request after weeks of inaction. Both the Governor and Senator Tammy Baldwin publically expressed frustrations with the agency’s sluggishness.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there are currently 6,854 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, 428 of which are located in Dane County.