Senator Markey Calls For Wartime Manufacturing Mobilization

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey is calling on the Trump Administration to ramp up the national industry production of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as coronavirus testing supplies, as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Speaking to press on Sunday morning, Senator Markey said the Trump Administration needs to utilize its authority under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to allow for a massive expansion of manufacturing for coronavirus testing kits and PPE for medical personnel.

"We are at war with coronavirus," Markey said at the JFK Federal Building. "We need a massive wartime manufacturing mobilization.... I am calling on the Trump Administration to immediately use existing authorities under the DPA to increase private production of the lifesaving personal protective equipment, medical supplies, devices, and diagnostic testing supplies to combat this viral enemy."

Senator Markey's call to increase test and protective gear production comes one day after the state Department of Health announced another increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts.

On Friday, March 13 the Massachusetts DPH reported 123 presumptive positive cases. On Saturday, that number had jumped to 138. Out of those 138 cases, 104 patients were part of the Biogen Conference in Boston, 8 patients are part of a cluster in Western Massachusetts, 5 cases are travel related, and 21 are still under investigation.

On Saturday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new coronavirus Command Center which will be lead by Marylou Sudders, the state’s health and human services secretary. During the announcement of the Center, Sudders said the state has so far only received about 10 percent of the equipment it requested from the federal government's stockpile. She also said Berkshire Medical Center has only “several days’ of equipment supply left.

Markey's comments to move to Wartime manufacturing levels also comes after Dr. Paul Biddinger, chief of the division of emergency preparedness for Massachusetts General Hospital, told the Lowell Sun that the hospital was "looking to extend the use of our current supplies in line with federal recommendations to make sure we protect our workforce.... We’re very concerned about the shortages we’re facing."

WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports:

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