Coronavirus Latest: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware Joining Regional Purchasing Consortium To Combat COVID-19

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CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are on board with an investment strategy of networking and pooling resources to acquire personal protective equipment to combat coronavirus pandemic. The governors say the neighborly collaboration is for the common good.

The purchasing power will help states buy much needed medical equipment like personal protective equipment and testing kits for health care workers and patients as sites like Cooper Hospital.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Delaware Gov. John Carney and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont all virtually joined New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefing on Sunday.

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Massachusetts and Rhode Island are also participating.

Cuomo announced the regional purchasing consortium Sunday afternoon, saying that working together will increase the market power and help prevent price gouging for medical equipment used in the fight against COVID-19.

Some of the medical equipment includes PPE, testing kits and ventilators.

The states will be looking for suppliers from within the United States.

New Jersey health officials announced another 137 death from COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 7,871.

Murphy says the states shouldn’t be competing against each other to obtain necessary medical equipment.

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“The notion of coordinating together as a region makes an enormous amount of sense. Sign me up and sign New Jersey up,” Murphy said. “We’ve moved in New Jersey alone 21 million pieces of PPE in the past two months, a line of business we never knew beforehand and so this makes so much sense.”

With nearly 50,000 COVID-19 cases, Wolf says the personal protective equipment is vital.

“We need to help our hospitals,” Wolf said. “We need to help our health care workers. We need to help our long term care facilities, our first responders, all of those things and what you’re doing here and what you’re doing is actually pulling together to make sure we’re doing all of those things.”

His sentiments are shared with Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals President Maureen May, who’s also a registered nurse at Temple University Hospital.

“The PPE is personal protection, but not only is it personal protection for us — it’s protection for everybody. The urgency is great, the demand is even greater and the need is for everybody,” May said.

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“If we’re going head to head with New York, we’re not going to get it,” Carney said. “If we’re along shoulder to shoulder with you and Gov. Murphy and Gov. Wolf, we’ve got a good chance of getting a good price and getting what we need.”

The federal Department of Health and Human Services says 53 of the hardest hit hospitals are in New Jersey. They will share a total of $1.7 billion in federal funding.

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