Department of Health Services: Governor Evers and DHS recognize state workers and interagency cooperation for distribution of PPE in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) today recognized the dedication, resilience, and ingenuity of state agencies and workers involved in creating a program to acquire, maintain and distribute government services. stock of personal protective equipment (PPE). The effort has supported a range of organizations across the state, each with different needs, from polling stations to daycares.

“Almost as quickly as the COVID-19 pandemic became a threat to our state, our state employees and partners stepped up to do the work of distributing scarce PPE resources,” Governor Evers said. “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Emergency Management, members of the Wisconsin National Guard, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and countless other state and local agencies began running for resources. to keep the people of Wisconsin safe.”

“When agency leaders began to organize, it was clear that our PPE inventory was not designed for a crisis of the magnitude we have experienced over the past two years, but our agencies of State rose to the challenge, especially the bonded warehouse team who designed and implemented a plan,” said DHS Assistant Secretary Deb Standridge. “This organizational feat would not have been achieved without the help of our private warehouse partner, who provided exceptional distribution and storage resources.”

In March 2020, the DHS Receipt, Stage, Store (RSS) warehouse was activated to accept and distribute Federal Strategic National Stock (SNS) shipments. As the pandemic spread across the country, DHS personnel prepared the warehouse to federal standards and coordinated with the Wisconsin State Patrol and DNR to ensure inventory security. DHS epidemiologists developed an algorithm to ensure equitable distribution of PPE while the warehouse team performed quality assurance assessments, managed inventory and distribution, and developed an emergency request system for respond to urgent needs.

Over the past two years, the DHS RSS Warehouse has distributed over 80 million pieces of PPE and other supplies to every corner of the state. Highlights of these efforts include:

  • Delivery of over 10 million face masks and 6,500 thermometers to thousands of nurseries and schools
  • Partnering with county and tribal emergency managers to deliver 36 million pieces of personal protective equipment for onward distribution to hundreds of local entities
  • Provide 10 million pieces of PPE to support the work of state agencies
  • Distribution of four million pieces of PPE in coordination with the Wisconsin Election Commission to make polling places safer
  • Delivery of 5.7 million N95 and K95 masks to communities, nonprofits and others for distribution to Wisconsin residents

In addition to receiving, storing and distributing PPE, the effort also resulted in the purchase of 1,500 loanable ventilators in 2020, ensuring access to facilities in need through a ventilator management program.

DHS and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) are leading the two-year effort, with support from personnel from other agencies, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Wisconsin National Guard. Many other state agencies and organizations, such as the Civil Air Patrol and the Department of Children and Families, have also been involved in distributing PPE through a variety of projects.

Today, DHS is continuing Wisconsin’s emergency preparedness with a new warehouse unit leading the continued receipt and storage of Wisconsin’s stock of PPE, and continued distributions to health care facilities. term, local and tribal public health agencies, and many other organizations across the state. The unit is currently managing the distribution of children’s masks and KN95 masks to child care providers and school programs, while ensuring preparedness for future disasters.

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