Sinema Discusses Arizona’s Coronavirus Outbreak, Calls for Increased PPE and Testing

Jun 24, 2020

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema discussed Arizona’s coronavirus outbreak and the need for increased personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing capacity to combat the virus in today’s Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. 
“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. 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 Sinema.
Today’s Senate Homeland Security hearing focused on the Strategic National Stockpile. In her questioning, Sinema highlighted dozens of local businesses and manufacturers in Arizona that shifted their production and manufacturing capabilities and began producing face shields, masks, gowns, hand sanitizer and other needed PPE such as AmSafe in Phoenix, W.L. Gore in Flagstaff, TYR Tactical in Peoria, and ClikTech in Scottsdale. Sinema thanked breweries and distilleries that began producing hand sanitizer and donating them to food banks, first responders, and local businesses. Sinema also noted that Arizona State University and entrepreneurs like the Van Hook Dental Studio in Tempe began using their 3D printers to help produce the nasal swabs and face shields needed to stand-up community testing sites. Sinema questioned how to make it easier for the Strategic National Stockpile to partner with these companies and entities.
Sinema also highlighted how the initial allocation of personal protective equipment and ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile was based on population size and confirmed coronavirus cases, which hurt Arizona since the lack of testing made the caseload appear artificially low. Sinema questioned officials on how the Strategic National Stockpile and other federal resources can establish a better allocation process that is more fair and equitable, and takes into account testing inconsistencies which are likely to be present in any pandemic-type situation.