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Trump Administration Buys $594 Million in Virus Protective Gear (1)

July 8, 2020, 4:17 PMUpdated: July 8, 2020, 7:37 PM

The Trump administration purchased $594 million in personal protective equipment since June, in the first complete look at how the Defense Department has replenished the Strategic National Stockpile since assuming that responsibility.

The list of contracts, obtained by Bloomberg Law, highlights how the government is responding to a surge in Covid-19 infections around the country.

The Defense Logistics Agency, a subset of the Defense Department, took over purchasing personal protective equipment like masks and gloves for the stockpile in May. The Federal Emergency Management Agency bought those supplies for the stockpile between March and May when it was the primary agency in charge of the federal response to Covid-19.

The Defense Logistics Agency bought 4.6 billion gloves, 6.69 million goggles, 4.8 million face shields, and at least 21 million surgical masks for the stockpile, spokesman Patrick Mackin said in a statement.

The Trump administration has been taking steps to increase production and purchasing of masks, gloves, N95 respirators, and other equipment as the pandemic evolves. The Department of Health and Human Services is working on a plan to restructure and resupply the stockpile after being criticized over a lack of adequate supplies.

Hu-Friedy Mfg. Co., Hilo Enterprises, Big Apple Visual Group, and New Market Veterans received the contracts to supply surgical masks, according to a Bloomberg Government tool.

Hu-Friedy previously received contracts to supply dental equipment to the Indian Health Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Defense Department. Hilo Enterprises hasn’t any received federal contracts since 2016, according to the Bloomberg Government tool.

Big Apple Visual Group, a visual display company, received contracts to supply signs to the Defense Department and other agencies. New Market Veterans sells health-care products and has previously entered into contracts with the VA and HHS.

Federal Resources Supply Company will provide goggles, face shields, and medical gloves to the stockpile. W.S. Darley & Co. will also supply medical gloves. Federal Resources and W.S. Darley previously entered into contracts with federal agencies for medical and military equipment.

The vast majority of the contracts—$551 million worth—went to Federal Resources.

The company also received a $2 million to $5 million loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, according to federal data released July 6. The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to provide a financial lifeline to companies struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Federal Resources received $41.8 million in federal contracts between Sept. 30, 2019 and April 8, 2020, the day it received the loan. During the same time period in fiscal year 2019, it received $5.3 million in federal contracts.

Big Apple Visual Group also received a $1 million to $2 million loan under the Paycheck Protection Program.

(Updates with additional details in last four paragraphs.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Shira Stein in Washington at sstein@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Alexis Kramer at akramer@bloomberglaw.com

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