Twin Cities leaders say need for protective gear is ‘staggering’

Two trillion dollars will soon be pumped into the U.S. economy and leaders for cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul say the funds are badly needed to support local businesses and those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

But, at the same time, they are facing an even bigger concern: a shortage of personal protective gear and testing.

“Our supply needs are so staggering,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “Because we lack thermometer covers, our first responders are literally using Saran wrap as a safe but clearly problematic short-term solution just so they can take patients' temperature."

In a call with Senator Amy Klobuchar, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter highlighted the medical supply shortage in his own city and their struggle to buy much-needed items like N95 masks.

“When we do locate a supplier, the prices are super inflated,” he said. “For example, our most recent order priced at $5.50 per mask compared to $1-2 a unit.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said getting the stimulus dollars directly will help local leaders in their response.

“We want to make sure that we are not duplicating but complementing the work that is happening at the state and federal legislatures,” said Frey.

Senator Amy Klobuchar says the fight is long from over.

“Until we get the medical situation under control in some way with this medical surge, we’re not going to be able to have the economic surge we’re going to need to come back.”