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Massive shipment of PPE, including 6 million masks, arrives in New Hampshire

By Dean Shalhoup | Apr 13, 2020

Photo by JEFFREY HASTINGS Inventor Dean Kamen, who spearheaded the effort to bring a massive shipment of PPE to New Hampshire, addresses media Sunday while crews unload the shipment. At right is U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH.

LONDONDERRY – The first batch of the roughly 45 tons of personal protective equipment that touched down at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Sunday afternoon will soon be on their way to Granite Staters “on the frontlines of this (COVID-19) crisis,” Gov. Chris Sununu said.

Praising legendary New Hampshire inventor Dean Kamen for “facilitating this heroic effort,” Sununu was joined by Kamen, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and N.H. National Guard representatives on the airport tarmac as crews began transferring the huge shipment from a FedEx cargo plane to waiting National Guard trucks for distribution to what officials said is the area of greatest need in New Hampshire.

According to Sununu, the recipients of the protective gear will not be charged for the items. While the state Division of Health and Human Services purchased the equipment, he said, it will be reimbursed by federal funds, which Shaheen and fellow Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan procured.

It wasn’t immediately known where in the state the supplies are to be distributed, nor whether Nashua or area towns are on the list of recipients.

The plane, which arrived on schedule at the FedEx Freight Facility on the Londonderry side of the airport, had departed Shanghai, China Saturday night, then passed through customs in Anchorage, Alaska on its way to New Hampshire.

Photo by JEFFREY HASTINGS Members of the New Hampshire National Guard begin unloading the massive shipment of PPE from a cargo plane after it arrived at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Sunday afternoon.

By the numbers, the cargo included 6,140 boxes of PPE gear, 24,000 coveralls and Tyvek suits, 50,000 faceshields and 6.6 million masks, according to Sununu’s office.

“One month ago New Hampshire wasn’t even in the business of PPE procurement, and today we secured 45 metric tons of this critical lifesaving equipment for our state,” Sununu said, standing at a portable podium

as crews unloaded the plane in the background.

While Sununu delivered “huge thanks to Dean Kamen for facilitating this effort,” he didn’t specify Kamen’s precise role in the acquisition of the equipment.

He did say those involved “worked around the clock, scoured the earth, and left no stone unturned to ensure New Hampshire has the resources it needs to combat this pandemic.”

Shaheen, in brief remarks, also praised Kamen for his involvement, noting that because of his “leadership, we are all a little safter today.”

The shipment comes at the right time for the state, Shaheen added. “Our state has not been receiving the PPE it needs … and is running dangerously low on supplies,” she said.

Hassan, in a statement, said the “major shipment” of PPE will “help save lives and make a huge difference for our state.”

She cited the passage of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, which provides fast and direct economic assistance to people and businesses affected by the pandemic, for contributing to making the shipment possible.

Hassan added that while the shipment “is great news, it’s essential that the (federal) administration addresses ongoing supply chain issues and ramps up the production and distribution of vital medical supplies.”


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