Shortages of COVID-19 Emergency Equipment in U.S. Cities Survey

Published: March 31, 2020

SLED Market AnalysisCoronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicPolicy and Legislation

Source: US Conference of Mayors

To support its requests for emergency federal assistance for cities during the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Conference of Mayors conducted a survey of its members on March 20, 2020. 

Responses to the survey were received from 213 cities across 41 states and Puerto Rico. Populations of the cities range from under 2,000 to 3.8 million; six of the cities have populations over one million; 45 have populations below 50,000. The survey cities together are home to 42 million people.

Analyses of responses to the survey questions show the following:

  • 91.5% (192) of the cities do not have an adequate supply of face masks for their first responders (including police, fire, and EMTs) and medical personnel.
  • 88.2% (186) do not have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) other than face masks to protect these workers.
  • 92.1% (186) do not have an adequate supply of test kits.
  • 85% (164) do not have an adequate supply of ventilators for use by health facilities in their city or area.
  • 62.4% (131) have not received emergency equipment or supplies from their State.
  • Of those receiving help from their State, 84.6% (66) say it is not adequate to meet their needs.

While the survey focused on just four categories of equipment as a measure of cities’ readiness to respond to COVID-19, respondents were invited to identify in greater detail the equipment and supplies needed but not available in their areas. In addition to N95 and surgical masks, their responses included PPE items such as eye protection, gowns, aprons, gloves, shoe covers/booties, and Tyvek suits, as well as disinfectant sprays/wipes, hand sanitizer, digital/no-touch thermometers, portable hospital beds, portable showers, handwashing stations, anti-bacterial soap, bleach, food prep supplies, medical refuse bags, and replacement filters for filtering devices.

City examples of needed quantities specified for many of these items include:

  • Dayton – 200,000 N-95 masks; 150,000 pairs gloves; 150,000 eye protectors; 15,000 P-100 PAPR filters; 15,000 coveralls; 100,000 digital thermometers; 175 hand sanitizers; 10,000 8-ounce, 5000 16-ounce disinfectant spray/cleaner; 15,000 tubs disinfectant wipes; 15,000 Tyvek suits; 150,000 face shields; 15,000 packages anti-bacterial soap; 1,200 gallon-jugs viral swabs; 60,000 pairs shoe covers; 40,000 head covers; 20,000 disposable aprons; 1,000 gallons bleach
  • Toledo – 100,000 gowns; 200,000 pairs gloves; 10,000 temporal thermometers; 50,000 tubs disinfecting wipes; 50,000 face shields; 60,000 CAPR/PAPR filters; 50,000 bottles hand sanitizer
  • Henderson – 40 cases hand sanitizer; 100 cases cleaning wipes; 50 thermometers; 100 respirators; 300 replacement filters
  • Bridgeport – 50,000 sanitizing wipes; 100,000 pairs latex gloves; 1,500 P100 masks.
  • Fairburn – 50,000 pairs plastic gloves; 50,000 protective suits; 50,000 thermometers; 50,000 hand sanitizers; 50,000 disinfectant wipes; 100,000 rolls toilet tissue; 100,000 boxes kleenex; 100,000 bottles over-the-counter fever reducers; 200,000 bottles water.
  • Meriden – 20,000 pairs gloves; 500 thermometers
  • Santa Barbara – For police and firefighter use alone: 4,000 N-95 masks, medical gowns, pairs of safety glasses
  • Sugar Land – 3,000 pairs goggles; 3,000 pairs shoe covers
  • Davie –100 face shields, surgical masks, goggles, gowns; minimum 5,000 packages equipment wipes, hand wipes; 1,000 canisters cleaning chemicals
  • Detroit 18,000 surgical masks
  • Middletown – For its 93 police officers and 82 fire personnel: N95 masks, 200 thermometers; surgical masks and gowns; 400 oxygen delivery devices, especially bag-valve-mask devices to deliver resuscitation. The City noted that its supply of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer spray will be gone in one we