By BRANDON MEJIA & LOU GUM
U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona questioned federal officials Wednesday on how the National Strategic Stockpile was distributed and how governments can better partner with private industries during a Senate Homeland Security hearing.
Arizona has struggled to test residents because of shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing materials, Sen. Sinema said to her constituents.
“Arizona lacks sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment, which stunted our testing capacity since the pandemic first started, and significantly contributed to my state’s current dangerous situation,” said U.S. Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ).
However, Sen. Sinema did acknowledge entities like Arizona State University and Flagstaff Manufacturing Company W.L. Gore for producing PPE and other equipment throughout the state. She suggested making that process easier for organizations to contribute.
Arizona hurt early on in the pandemic since the lack of testing and equipment made the state’s caseload appear artificially low, the Senator said. Arizona has still dealt with a prolonged surge in COVID-19 cases as well.
“Arizona is a growing hotspot. The number of confirmed cases, positive test rates, and hospitalizations have increased significantly since the end of the state’s stay-at-home orders in mid-May,” said Sen. Sinema.
She has since asked for a review of stockpile distribution practices which are based on population size and confirmed cases.