62M gloves arrive at O'Hare to distribute PPE nationwide through FEMA's Supply Chain Task Force

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Illinois has 62 million more gloves to add to its PPE stockpile, as the state battles the COVID-19 crisis.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 64 million gloves were flown into O'Hare International Airport this weekend as part of FEMA's efforts to rapidly distribute critical resources where they are needed most.

The Supply Chain Task Force is working with major commercial distributors, such as Project Air Bridge, to execute a strategy maximizing the availability of critical protective and lifesaving resources through FEMA for a whole-of-America response.

RELATED: Coronavirus Illinois Update: Latest news on COVID-19 cases, Chicago area impact

Their efforts focus on reducing the medical supply chain capacity gap to both satisfy and relieve demand pressure on medical supply capacity.

The distributors have agreed to focus portions of their distributions on these areas in order to alleviate the suffering of the American people.

Chicago is one of those areas where officials say there is a desperate need of more PPE supplies.

"The flow seems to be coming, I can never say at an adequate pace because I won't feel like it's adequate until we have big stores of it to back everybody up," Pritzker said.

The air bridge was created to reduce the time it takes for U.S. medical supply distributors to receive personal protective equipment and other critical supplies into the country for their respective customers.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor tweeted about boxes of gloves arriving in Chicago Saturday.

FEMA covers the cost to fly supplies into the U.S. from overseas factories, reducing shipment time from weeks to days.

"Overseas flights arrive at operational hub airports for distribution to hotspots and nationwide locations through regular supply chains. Flight arrivals do not mean supplies will be distributed in the operational hub locations. Per agreements with distributors, 50 percent of supplies on each plane are for customers within the hotspot areas with most critical needs. The remaining 50 percent is fed into distributors' normal supply chain to their customers in other areas nationwide. HHS and FEMA determine hotspot areas based on CDC data," according to FEMA.

Officials said by working together, they are able to efficiently distribute these vital resources to hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, pre-hospital medical services, state and local governments, and other facilities critical to caring for the American people during this pandemic.

Gov. Pritzker's office said FEMA has not made the state aware if Illinois will receive any of these supplies delivered.

The governor said all hospitals in Illinois are supplied with seven to ten days of PPE.

This article has been updated from our original report.