The Baltimore Regional Cooperative Purchasing Committee (BRCPC) coordinated with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to participate in the largest cooperative purchase of N95 masks in the Mid-Atlantic region. N95 masks are those recommended for use by medical and emergency professionals to prevent the transmission of infectious disease. These masks have come into increasingly high demand during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Led by MWCOG, this bulk purchase of 7.1 million masks covers the requirements for 30 governmental entities across Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
During a time when so much of the world is facing COVID-19 and the increasing measures to protect themselves, demand for personal protection equipment (PPE) has risen well above available supply. The aggregate volume of this order helped MWCOG and BRCPC to secure these essential resources despite competition from across the country and the globe.
In addition to this important effort, purchasers, governments, private industry and individuals have taken novel approaches to secure the resources our region needs. Here are a few clever and inventive local examples:
- Distilleries have converted their operations to make hand sanitizer until the normal manufacturers of hand sanitizer could catch up with demand
- Textile companies have made gowns and masks for medical personnel at the request of local leaders
- Supplies of gowns and masks were found through coordination with promotional supply companies
- Local EMS providers have spared gloves, masks and wipes
- Local firms have donated materials, including gloves from tattoo shops and masks from gas equipment suppliers
- Local firms have donated warehousing to store bulk shipments of PPE supplies
- Purchasers have worked with promotional supply houses to vet foreign offers for N95 masks to ensure their legitimacy
- Cooperative purchasing is being used to aggregate the volume of orders to ensure we get the attention of manufacturers and competitive pricing
- Individuals are sewing masks at home to fill gaps for their communities
Regional procurement professionals and their partners in the manufacturing and supply sector have shined in this challenging time. We are proud to share that their cooperation is helping to save lives.