The Trump administration is moving to replenish a national stockpile of medical supplies to prepare for a potential second surge of COVID-19 or another respiratory illness, including adding critical care drugs.
The announcement Thursday comes as some providers say they are continuing to have problems getting personal protective equipment as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior administration officials told reporters Thursday that they hope to add 300 million N95 respirator masks by the fall and eventually have 1 billion masks.
The administration is also hoping to get 6 million to 7 million gowns.
A new addition to the stockpile will be critical care drugs that can be used for people who are on ventilators and added supplies needed for testing.
There have been reports of supply chain issues with some drugs needed to treat COVID-19 patients and the supplies required to perform tests such as reagents.
“We think we have a well-defined understanding of 30, 60 and 90 days worth of demand,” a senior administration official said.
The goal is to have enough supplies on hand while sending a signal to manufacturers to build up surge capacity, officials said.
The officials did not divulge how many new ventilators they hope to add to the stockpile over the next couple of months.
A concern at the outset of the pandemic back in March was whether the Strategic National Stockpile had enough ventilators to meet demand, but hospital systems have turned to other ways to shore up their capacity such as converting sleep apnea machines to low-grade ventilators.