Friday morning, Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. was at Forbes Airfield Base in Topeka, where the first of two truckloads of supplies from the nation’s emergency stockpiles was received. Two more truckloads were expected later in the afternoon. They contained packages of PPEs, personal protective equipment, including masks, face shields, gloves and gowns, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for medical personnel.
The supplies were made available following President Trump’s declaration on Friday, March 13, of a national emergency over the novel coronavirus outbreak.
According to Marshall, the Adjutant Gen. Lee Tafaelli and the 7,700 airmen of the Army and Air National Guard will distribute these and any future supplies as needed.
“This is the most common concern I get from hospitals, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, and the doctors,” Marshall wrote in an email to The Great Bend Tribune on Friday morning. “One of my biggest concerns is keeping our health care staff healthy, so they can take care of the sick.”
On Feb. 28, the CDC reported some of the stockpile’s N95 filtering facepiece respirators had exceeded their shelf-life but were being evaluated to determine if they could still be used during this emergency response. It was determined the majority of respirator models tested continued to meet performance standards regardless of the facility from which they were sampled. According to a summary at the CDC website, “ In times of increased demand and decreased supply, consideration can be made to use the N95s listed above past their manufacturer-designated shelf life when responding to Covid-19.”
Marshall was not aware of whether the masks distributed to Kansas were among those identified.
Marshall offered special thanks to the officers and airmen of the 190th Air Refueling Wing, as well as the nurses and doctors and all hospital staff on the front line.