Fearful that New Orleans would run out of ventilators by early April as the number of COVID-19 patients rose by the hundreds, even thousands, per day, Louisiana officials set out to get every device they could find. At the time, that meant securing an additional 14,000.
Within days of President Donald Trump’s urging states to get their own supplies because it would “be faster if they can get them directly,” Louisiana sought only a fraction of them from the federal government and turned to private companies for the rest, having little confidence one supplier would give the state all it needed.
“If I knew for a fact that I could get all that I wanted from one vendor, I wouldn’t be ordering from another,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said March 31.
Louisiana set out to buy 9,000 from the private sector, where each device can cost tens of thousands of