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DENVER (KDVR) – Colorado’s severe shortage of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) prompted Governor Jared Polis to send a letter to Vice President Pence requesting additional supplies.

In the letter, dated March 28 and released publicly Thursday, Polis said the COVID-19 death rate in Colorado was rising faster than any other state in the country. However, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment suggested on a press call Thursday that the claim was no longer true, as the letter was several days old.

“We are facing a crisis-level shortage of these essential supplies to protect our health care workers and first responders. Colorado’s COVID-19 death rate is rising faster than any other state right now; the pandemic is spreading so fast that lags in testing are masking the true conditions experienced by Coloradans across the state,” Polis wrote.

The governor wrote that Colorado requested these supplies:

  • 10,000 ventilators, and associated equipment and pharmaceuticals
  • 2,000,000 N95 masks
  • 4,460,000 surgical masks
  • 720,000 gowns
  • 880,000 face shields
  • 4,300,000 pair gloves — small, medium, and large

Requests had been made through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services, Polis wrote.

“I am asking that you increase the ventilators and PPE that is being sent to Colorado for this critical moment, to help us safely cross the bridge ahead of us until we can start to reap the benefits of our other unprecedented procurement and manufacturing efforts,” the governor’s letter concludes.