DeSantis says ventilator order was to replenish emergency stock, is not currently needed

When Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, was asked last week about a request from the State of Florida to the federal government for 200 more ventilators and 100 more high-flow nasal oxygen kits, he said that the order had never crossed his desk.

Jen Psaki, the current White House Press Secretary, confirmed that supplies had been shipped to Florida and that the federal government only ships when they have received a request. As it turns out, the federal government did receive an order for more equipment, but it did not go through anyone at the governor’s office. According to the Miami Herald, requests to the federal government actually go through the Department of Health, who later clarified that the purpose of the request was simply to replenish the state’s emergency stockpile and was not currently needed.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, many states found themselves with a shortage of ventilators as COVID positive patients were admitted to hospitals. Many of those same states went through a process to request more equipment from the federal government. With the Delta variant of the virus on the rise, many thought that a ventilator order from Desantis was a bad sign for Florida and it’s citizens.

And while Florida hospitalizations have seen an increase in recent weeks with the spread of the new variant, the Department of Health stands firm in it’s statement that this order was not being used to handle the Delta variant surge currently. When word of this equipment request spread, it quickly turned political. Desantis has been criticized by some for opposing mask mandates in his state while also becoming an emerging leader in the Republican Party.

He has recently signed a number of executive orders, including banning mask-mandates in schools, while threatening to fine school board members who do not comply with the ban (WLRN). Florida has been one highly controversial of the most states with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.



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