On May 3, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would be mandating that every single hospital have a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment in case there is a second wave of the virus.
As it turns out, he has yet to follow up on this mandate.
“We’re going to put in a state requirement now that every hospital has to have a 90-day supply, a stockpile, their own stockpile of all the PPE equipment that they could need for a 90-day supply at the rate of usage that we saw with this COVID virus,” Cuomo said during his May 3 morning press briefing.
“And today we find out, about two hours ago, that the 90-day supply of personal protective equipment? No, no, no, just a guideline, don’t really have to do that. Just a guideline,” Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin first pointed out during a press conference on Monday. “We just spent seven or eight days assuming they had to have 90 days of stock built up.”
Spectrum News has now independently confirmed that the governor has not yet issued an executive order requiring hospitals to stockpile PPE.
According to the Department of Health, the state has provided over 46 million pieces of PPE to hospitals.
However, Sean Petty with the state nurses union, says that many nurses in New York are still struggling to obtain the proper PPE in the hospitals where they work.
“Unfortunately because of the lack of PPE, because the lack of testing and isolation, health care workers and other essential workers, we are a key vector of spreading this disease,” Petty warned.
As the state looks to start reopening some regions, worker groups are asking that the governor issue an executive order mandating that PPE be provided to all employees returning to work, mandate regular cleaning for workplaces, and job protection for employees that need to stay home due to health concerns.
Right now, there is an executive order mandating that essential employers provide their employees with PPE. There is also a website employees can go to report businesses that are not complying. But Petty says it seems these regulations are not being enforced.
“The reporting mechanism is broken,” Petty said. “Across all workplaces, people are not getting the protections that they need. So there needs to be massive, aggressive action.”
According to spokesperson for the state Labor Department, there have been thousands of health and safety complaints lodged against businesses over the past two months, but they are still working to get an exact number of cases, and what penalties, if any, have been issued.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office says a regulation will be forthcoming.