WebMD News Brief

White House: Medical Equipment Shipped to States

photo of surgical mask

March 23, 2020 — Equipment, including respirators, surgical masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves have been shipped to Washington and New York, federal officials said Sunday during a news conference at the White House.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will help build medical stations in New York, California, and Washington, supplying thousands of beds to handle the demand. The USNS Mercy Hospital Ship will dock in Los Angeles, not to house COVID-19 patients but to ease the load on other hospital beds. The USNS Comfort, another hospital ship, is being sent to New York.

As of Sunday, 254,00 people have been tested and gotten results, according to Vice President Mike Pence. This number does not include tests done by local hospitals and local labs. Slightly more than 30,000 of these tested positive, he said. "Nine of 10 [tested] did not have it," he said. He expects to catch up on the testing backlog by midweek.

The administration will urge all commercial labs to prioritize testing, Pence said, giving priority to inpatients. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, said inpatients and health care workers will be given high priority for testing.

New guidance will be issued on Monday for law enforcement and first responders, Pence said. New guidance will also be issued for those exposed to a COVID-19 patient and their ability to now return to work more quickly if wearing a mask.

Asked about whether he plans an extension of the 15-day "Stop the Spread" effort, with everyone asked to stay home as much as possible for that time, President Donald Trump said, "Hopefully we won't have to. We have to see how that works."

WebMD Health News Brief


White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, March 22, 2020.

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.