Walz orders organizations to inventory personal protective equipment

In this illustration dated February 26, 2020, protective N-95 face masks lie on a table at an office in Washington, DC. (Photo by EVA HAMBACH / AFP) (Photo by EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images) ( (Photo by EVA HAMBACH / AFP) (Photo by EVA HAMBACH/AFP via Getty Images) )

Governor Tim Walz is looking to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in hospitals amid the novel coronavirus pandemic by ordering organizations to complete an inventory of all PPE and prepare to donate their items.

Monday, Walz signed Executive Order 20-16, which directs all non-hospital entities to complete an inventory of their PPE, which includes ventilators, respirators, and anesthesia machines. The order impacts any Minnesota business, nonprofit, construction agency or non-hospital health care facility, such as veterinary, dental, research, university or college, that may have PPE.

Once those numbers are tabulated, they must be reported to the state. The inventory must be completed by Wednesday.

After the numbers are reported, the order dictates the items must be donated to a local coordinating entity or preserved.

"We must take similar steps to identify and preserve the available PPE and other equipment in Minnesota to protect health care personnel while they treat individuals with COVID-19 and others receiving critical care," read Walz's order. "It is impossible to anticipate how many people will need hospital care in the coming weeks, but it is certain that there will be a strain on the existing supply of medical equipment and uncertainty about the suppliers’ ability to quickly meet our needs."

The order does not impact nursing homes or facilities that already provide inventory information to the MnTrac system.

Governors in Colorado and Oregon have issued similar orders.

Over the weekend under Walz’s direction, the Minnesota National Guard delivered PPE from its storage at Camp Ridley to the Minnesota Department of Health.