Top health care officials said Monday that there is not enough stockpiled medical equipment like masks, gowns and gloves to fulfill the anticipated need of nation's health care system as it deals with the coronavirus.
Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services told medical professionals on a conference call Monday that there was not enough personal protective equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile to fulfill anticipated gaps in state and local supplies, according to a source who was on the call. The call was confirmed to CNN by a Department of Health and Human Services official.
The officials, from HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Reponses, said on the call that the government didn't yet have a solution for the looming shortfall, but was working on one.
"We have been transparent that more supplies are needed -- hence the request to Congress for additional funding so we could procure more and scale up production," an HHS spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. "The role at the Federal level is to appropriately implement regulatory relief, provide alternative sources and support manufacturing, and adjust allocation to appropriately target areas in need."
The HHS statement added that hospitals need to ensure they are moving the product to where there is demand "rather than being stored where it is not currently needed."
The role of the national stockpile is to fill the gap temporarily until states and localities working with the private sector can respond to the state and local needs.
Public health officials have been warning of a dire situation looming with the number of coronavirus cases increasing dramatically.