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New York, 6 other states form consortium to buy medical supplies, equipment

May 3, 2020

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his Sunday briefing in NYC.
Credit Office of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York is teaming up with six other states in the northeast to pool their purchasing power for medical supplies and equipment, with a goal of boosting their likelihood of buying those products on the open market and strengthening their collective bidding capacity.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new partnership Sunday, saying the new strategy will likely save taxpayers money by removing the need for states to bid against each other.

“I’m bidding on behalf of New York. We’re bidding against other states,” Cuomo said. “Other states around the country are trying to buy the same masks from the same vendor.”

“It was totally inefficient and ineffective,” he continued.

New York will form the consortium with New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Those states are already working with New York to coordinate plans for reopening the economy across the northeast.

The partnership will drastically improve the chances of those states being able to purchase medical supplies and equipment from sellers across the globe, and at a lower price, Cuomo said.

New York, he said, has spent $2 billion on medical supplies this year alone, Cuomo said.

“I believe it will save taxpayers money,” Cuomo said. “I also think it will help us actually get the equipment, because we have trouble still getting the equipment.”

There’s still a strong need for medical equipment and supplies at hospitals in New York, Cuomo said, despite a decrease in hospitalizations from COVID-19 over the last few weeks. The total number of hospitalizations dipped below 10,000 Saturday for the first time since mid-March.

Hospitals in New York will also now be required, Cuomo said, to build a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment, like masks and gowns, measured against how quickly those supplies were used at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s to avoid another situation where the state has to ship supplies between hospitals based on daily projections, Cuomo said.

“We can’t go through this day-to-day moving masks all across the state, this mad scramble we were in, and still are in,” Cuomo said.

Outside the hospital system, Cuomo urged New Yorkers Sunday to not let more favorable weather conditions fool them into changing their social behavior. He said people should, ideally, still stay home, or at the very least wear a mask and maintain distance while outside.

“It’s not even a situation you can control yourself,” Cuomo said. “What happens to you is dependent on what I do, and how I act.”

The disease was found in 3,438 more people Saturday, the state’s latest numbers, bringing the total number of confirmed infections statewide to 316,415.

The number of people currently hospitalized with the disease went down again Saturday, with 9,786 now requiring treatment. Of those, 2,821 were intubated, according to state data. That’s also a decrease from Friday.

An additional 280 people died from COVID-19 Saturday, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed deaths to 19,189.