WHISTELBLOWER: COVID-19 Stockpile sits idle while demand for supplies surges

Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

Todd Bartley, TalkWilliamsport.com


According to a Pennsylvania state employee identified only as WHISTELBLOWER; claims the COVID-19 supply stockpile currently housed at the PA Farm Show complex in Harrisburg, sits idle while demand for supplies surges across the Commonwealth.

If history is any guide, Governor Wolf and his administration of their own admission have been at the forefront of the pandemic response as well as securing an abundance of critical supplies for the medical community.

According to exclusive photos obtained for this story; so well in fact, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of those supplies are stacked in some instances three pallets high inside the PA Farm Show complex.

An estimated 15,000 pallets are currently being stored including body bags, masks, face shield, gloves, hand sanitizer and other PPE supplies.

Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

The WHISTELBLOWER will appear on the Wendy Bell Radio Show today and will provide granular details beginning at 11:06 a.m., a link is provided here.

At 11:30 a.m., PA State Senator and potential gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano joins Wendy Bell with real time reaction to this developing story.



Going back in time to last March 26, 2020, ahead of a press availability at 2 p.m. today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that he will spend up to $50 million in transferred state funding to purchase medical equipment and supplies for hospitals, nursing homes, and emergency workers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania.

“We need more beds, more ventilators, more personal protective equipment, and so much more and we need it as soon as possible because the virus is here,” Gov. Wolf said. “I am working to get this funding moving as quickly as I can. We need to do everything we can to support our front-line medical workers to protect them and ensure they have the equipment to care for patients. This funding is a step in the right direction.”

The $50 million in funding will be deposited into a restricted account under the governor’s jurisdiction and funds will be used if there are insufficient funds available from the disaster proclamation

“to buy medical equipment and supplies for health care entities to meet urgent patient and

staff needs to address surge demand. Health care entities include hospitals,

nursing facilities and emergency medical services”

according to the legislation – House Bill 1232.

The governor is expected to sign the bill tomorrow.

“As we continue to navigate uncharted waters with COVID-19, it is vital that we provide assistance to the healthcare professionals leading the fight during this public health epidemic,” Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said. “In Pennsylvania, we worked together to dedicate this money to help those who are waging this extraordinary battle.”

“As this crisis has evolved, our members have heard consistently from workers in need, parents and students with a lack of direction and the healthcare community concerned about a surge in patients,” said House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler. “I hope every resident of our state sees the actions we took to help all of those groups this week and knows their government is working to make sure we will get through this crisis together.”


Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

Yesterday, (March 25, 2020) Gov. Wolf announced the COVID-19 Capital Working Access Program (CWCA) to provide $60 million in loans to small businesses. These efforts combined are intended to get funding where it is needed most to save lives and livelihoods.

Pennsylvania is seeing cases of COVID-19 increase exponentially every day and until the curve of cases is flattened, everyone needs to do their part to help.


UPDATE: 3:16 P.M., Thursday, March 26, 2020

Question: Sec. Levine, can you clarify a COVID-19 vaccine compared to current treatment?

Currently there is no treatment for COVID-19, other than supportive treatment. Other than experimental treatments, such as chloroquine that are still be determined as to their effectiveness, there is no treatment. The work for a vaccine will be extremely beneficial, but it will be months, if not a year until that is ready to be used.


Question: Sec. Levine, is a best practice for those (example family of 4) staying at home to practice social distancing (different rooms)?

In many of the cases across the state, if one individual has tested positive in a household, it is likely more most in the household will test positive, unless there are significant measures taken to prevent contracting the disease. It is best to practice social distancing as much as possible, but that is somewhat difficult.


Question: Sec. Levine, how many of the ICU or Ventilator cases outside of the stay at home counties?

We do not have a data breakdown on the number of ICU or ventilator cases that fall outside of the stay-at-home counties at this time.


Question: Did the number of positives spike due to the testing results from a week ago being reported or are these numbers based on more recent tests?

The question about increased cases and increased testing is an interesting one. We know that testing has increased, and we appreciate the fact that commercial labs and academic clinical labs has assisted in this. However, we also know that even with expanded testing, if the virus is not circulating you won’t have more positive cases coming back. So we feel it is a combination of both.


Question: Sec. Levine, can you clarify where the test numbers are coming from and of there any agencies testing that are not reflected in the total, and when those numbers may be included going forward?

Test results are coming back from several commercial labs, including Quest, LabCorp, ARUP, Mayo, as well as a number of clinical academic labs. We also have our public health lab that is providing test results to the department. Positive test results are being reported to the department by all of this as they are received by the laboratories.

Question: On the capacity issue, has PASSHE been contacted about converting college dorms into hospital style rooms? Or other large facilities in the state to help with a potential surge?

We are working through a number of options to prepare to care for individuals should our hospitals be overwhelmed. These discussions are continuing to occur as we plan for a potential surge that could overtop our health care capacity. One step we are discussing is to work with ambulatory surgical facilities on allowing them to take some less serious patients from hospitals.


Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

March 27, 2020

The governor signed Senate Bill 422, which reschedules the 2020 primary election from April 28 to June 2. and makes other election process changes, including some due to the COVID-19 emergency. The bill provides process improvements to Act 77 of 2019, to allow counties to begin processing and tabulating mail ballots beginning at 7 a.m. on election day, rather than after the polls close at 8 p.m. Additionally, the measure allows counties to temporarily consolidate polling places without court approval and eases other rules regarding location and staffing of polling places for the primary to respond to county concerns about a potential shortage of poll workers and appropriate polling place locations.

“Delaying this year’s primary election as several other states have done is in the best interests of voters, poll workers and county election officials,” said Governor Wolf. “I commend the General Assembly for acting quickly on this critical legislation. The Department of State will continue to work with local election officials to ensure Pennsylvania has a fair and accessible election.”

The governor reminded voters of the new option to vote by mail-in ballot rather than going to a polling place on election day. Already more than 215,000 registered voters have signed up for either a mail-in or absentee ballot, with nearly 78 percent using the commonwealth’s new online application. Those voters do not need to file new applications despite the change in primary date.

Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

March 29, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today requested a major disaster declaration from the President through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide additional support for state, county and municipal governments and certain nonprofits, as well as individuals who are struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak.


Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

March 30, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., March 30, 2020 – Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) today announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it has been working on since January 2020; the significant expansion of the existing partnership between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA); and the rapid scaling of the Company’s manufacturing capacity with the goal of providing global supply of more than one billion doses of a vaccine. The Company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.



March 31, 2020

Governor Wolf: Request for Major Disaster Declaration Approved

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the approval of part of his request to the President for a major disaster declaration to support state, county and local response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Pennsylvania.

“We are grateful for federal funding that will support all levels of government as we work together to stop the spread, and support those who care for the ill,” said Governor Wolf. “But I remain unwavering in my call for the approval of the rest of my request, which will provide more direct support to our friends and neighbors who are facing financial difficulties that otherwise could be insurmountable.”

Under the major disaster declaration, state, county and municipal governments, as well as eligible private non-profits can receive reimbursement for up to 75 percent of eligible expenses related to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Eligible expenses can include but are not limited to costs associated with paying overtime, or materials and equipment purchases. The declaration also provides direct federal assistance, which provides federal materials and supplies to support state and local response efforts.


Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

April 8, 2020

Gov. Wolf Signs Order to Provide Targeted Distribution of COVID-19 PPE and Supplies to Hospitals

Harrisburg, PA – Among myriad actions to support Pennsylvania’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today signed an order to provide critical aid to hospitals with targeted PPE and supplies distribution.

“Combatting a pandemic means we all have to work together and that means we need to make the best use of our medical assets to ensure the places that need them most have them,” Gov. Wolf said. “Today, I am signing an order that will allow us to transfer supplies and information between medical facilities to both high-population, high-impact areas and lower population areas that might not have as many existing medical resources.”

“This will also prevent sick Pennsylvanians from having to choose which hospital to go to for fear that some have less access to equipment than others and it will help us make use of every ventilator, every piece of PPE, and every medical worker.”

The order will ensure the efficient allocation and effective use of critical medical resources, such as N95 face masks, ventilators, respirators, face shields, safety goggles, disinfectants and other sanitizing solutions by hospitals in the state.



Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

April 9, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: PMA calls on Gov. Wolf to rescind PPE Executive Order immediately

Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association has issued a response nearly 24 hours after Governor Wolf issued another Executive Order regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The order mandates that private, public and quasi-public health care providers and facilities, as well as manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of PPE, pharmaceuticals and other medical resources located within the commonwealth, submit current inventory quantities of PPE, pharmaceuticals and other medical resources to PEMA within five days of today’s order.

David N. Taylor, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association in response to Governor Wolf’s executive order, dated April 8, 2020, allowing for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with Commonwealth agencies to “commandeer… personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other medical resources located within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”


Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

April 18, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin announced the creation of the Business-to-Business Interchange Directory to connect organizations and businesses directly to manufacturers producing COVID-19-related products and supplies.

“Over the past month, the Wolf Administration has been working directly with businesses across the commonwealth to identify their capabilities and needs and move products quickly from the manufacturing floor to the marketplace,” said Sec. Davin. “Through this process, we recognized that we can help foster direct business connections to provide Pennsylvanians access to critical supplies expeditiously without a middleman. The creation of the B2B Interchange Directory reflects our commitment to responding to the needs of Pennsylvania’s businesses in a streamlined, easily accessible manner.”

This is the third web application developed by the Wolf Administration to serve the critical supply needs for Pennsylvania.

Recently, Governor Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Portal to source the most needed supplies for medical providers, emergency responders, and health care professionals. Following that was the creation of the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal, which builds on those efforts to help manufacturers produce COVID-19-related supplies or retool their operations to begin creation of those supplies.



Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

June 18, 2020

DOH Applies for $301 Million Federal Grant to Strengthen COVID-19 Response,

More Than $100 Million for Local Health Departments

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that the Department of Health has applied for a more than $301 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen state and local public health capacity in Pennsylvania.

“This funding is essential to our future response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Pennsylvania,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “In our application, we earmarked about a third of that funding, more than $100 million, to bolster county and municipal public health departments’ response. We intend to use the balance of the grant funding to expand our testing efforts, case investigating and contact tracing and our data infrastructure to improve our response.”


Photo: COVID-19 relief supplies sit idle inside the PA Farm Show Complex

September 21, 2020

Wolf Admin. Highlights Efforts to Ensure that PPE is Available, Accessible and Plentiful

Middletown, PA — Six months after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf today highlighted the Wolf Administration’s efforts to respond to the state’s critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure that mitigation-related products, from masks and medical equipment to cleaning and sanitation supplies, are available, accessible and plentiful.

“In the early days of the pandemic, this administration took numerous steps to secure sources of PPE to ensure that Pennsylvanians were protected and that our health system was not overwhelmed,” Gov. Wolf said. “Our proactive and ongoing efforts to secure PPE, coupled with the flexibility and ingenuity displayed by Pennsylvania’s business community, helped us secure and allocate PPE. Because of the steps we took, our hospitals were not overburdened, and our medical system was not strained. Now, six months after the virus first appeared in the commonwealth, we can say with confidence that we are prepared to stay safe as we continue to fight this pandemic.

Among myriad actions to support Pennsylvania’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Wolf signed an order in April to provide critical aid to hospitals with targeted PPE and supplies distribution.

The Wolf Administration is also working with eligible organizations that may be experiencing a shortage of respirators to connect them with the Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS), which provides free decontamination and reuse of N95 respirators as needed during a time of crisis. The system uses a vaporous hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate up to tens of thousands of N95 masks a day.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became evident that we needed to take definitive steps to acquire and manufacture PPE because we could not solely rely on existing systems to adequately supply the quantities we felt we would need,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. “Without the combined efforts of multiple state agencies, strategic investment in Pennsylvania-based manufacturers and strong public-private partnerships, we would not have been able to acquire and distribute the critical PPE needed to protect our front line healthcare workers and first responders.”

The Wolf Administration created several opportunities to connect PPE-producing/distributing businesses to hospitals, medical facilities and other businesses.

The Critical Donations Portal was developed for individuals, corporations, or community organizations to inform the commonwealth of critical medical supplies available for donation.

The Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal was developed to source the most needed supplies for medical providers, emergency responders and health care professionals. This portal is for manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers to inform the state of supplies available for purchase and will allow us to more quickly and efficiently procure these supplies for hospitals and medical facilities across Pennsylvania.

The Manufacturing Call to Action Portal was developed to match manufacturers and distributors to fill specific supply chain needs to meet increasing demands for medical supplies and related products, assist manufacturers that have workforce needs or gaps and aid them in identifying skilled workers, and identify manufacturers that can pivot or innovate to fulfill the demand for medical supplies and related products.

The Business-to-Business Interchange Directory connects organizations and businesses directly to manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of COVID-19-related products and supplies. This directory is made available to entities that contacted the commonwealth through the portals.

These resources are all available through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

“Our businesses and manufacturers showed us what is best about Pennsylvania throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — our innovation and can-do spirit,” said DCED Sec. Dennis Davin. “Companies stepped up when we needed them, providing products to protect their employees, communities, and the commonwealth as a whole. Today, we thank and applaud them for those efforts.”

The governor and Wolf Administration officials held the news conference at Americhem International, a Middletown-based wholesale distributor of janitorial and sanitizing products that serves a variety of industries, including commercial cleaning, hospitality, healthcare and more.

Americhem, which offers a variety of COVID-related mitigation products, is on the administration’s Business-to-Business Interchange Directory.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com in conjunction with 21-time Emmy Award winning journalist Wendy Bell and the Wendy Bell Radio Show on WJAS-AM 1320.