Mayor de Blasio calls on feds to supply city with more PPE

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Mayor Bill de Blasio went to the Brooklyn Navy Yard today to view local businesses manufacturing protective gowns for the medical community and masks to protect people from coronavirus. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Mayor de Blasio is continuing his call to the federal government to help supply the city’s medical workers with essential personal protective equipment. 

City hospitals have enough face shields, N95 masks, gloves, surgical masks to equip doctors, nurses and other health care workers and ventilators to treat novel coronavirus patients, the mayor said. 

But the city continues to experience a shortage of one piece of personal protective equipment—surgical gowns.  

“We are going to keep demanding that the federal government provide us what we need to protect those heroes but we know those demands sometimes are met, sometimes are not,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio during his daily coronavirus briefing on Monday. 

To help meet demand, the city began to manufacture gowns and distribute them to hospitals, clinics and nursing home workers, the mayor noted in his briefing referring to the collaboration between Crye Precision, a manufacturing company based at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and women’s fashion brand Lafayette 148. 

The two companies teamed up to create surgical gowns in early April and are expected to have 30,000 completed by the end of the month. Mayor de Blasio said that the city is also using fallbacks like coveralls to hold health workers over but even with those fallbacks hospitals might not have enough gowns to get them through Sunday April 26. 

“We are fighting every way that we can to find more but that’s how tight the situation is,” said de Blasio before appealing to the federal government again. “We need more surgical gowns in New York City and we need them now.” 

De Blasio thanked the feds for helping the city has received in the past. Over the weekend, FEMA delivered 265,00 Tyvek suits and will have enough material to make 400,000 gowns by May 23. The mayor though would like to see that production expands rapidly.