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New York will send us ventilators when we need them

In April, Gov. Kate Brown sent 140 ventilators to New York. Now that Oregon’s numbers of COVID-19 positives are rising, will the governor be requesting those back to help Oregonians who may need them?

— Stacie, Medford

The state of New York no longer needs the 140 ventilators that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sent there, but the governor’s office says those lifesaving medical devices are still doing more good in the state of Michigan than they would here at home.

For those just tuning in, Oregon’s governor made the unsolicited medical equipment donation the first week of April, during the peak of New York’s outbreak. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Oregon’s donation both “kind” and “smart” during an April 4 press conference, according to an earlier news report.

Charles Boyle, Brown’s deputy communications director, said in an email that Brown sent the ventilators to “help save lives” while New York was “at the peak of its COVID-19 outbreak.” At the time, the state’s hospitals were stretched “to their limits.”

“Just as we send help to other states during wildfire season, Gov. Brown took action to help states in need,” Boyle wrote.

Oregon’s donation was sent to Michigan when New York no longer needed them, according to Boyle, who also said in the email that Oregon hospitals currently “have sufficient ventilators to treat patients.”

According to Oregon Health Authority data Tuesday, only 35 of Oregon’s 779 ventilators are being used by patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

It’s worth noting that Oregon COVID-19 patients went up by more than half in the span of a week, but the number of COVID-19 cases using ventilators went up just 13 in that span.

Boyle said Oregon will be able to lean on New York and other states if the need arises.

“Should we need additional ventilators or other medical equipment, we know that New York and other states will come to our aid,” Boyle said. “And, at any time, we can request additional ventilators from the strategic national stockpile.”

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501 or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.