The COVID-19 pandemic caused an immeasurable number of delays and disruption to the healthcare supply chain, which included a large bulk order of ventilators for the state of Iowa.

Iowa spent $10.3 million acquiring 500 ventilators before the worst months of the coronavirus pandemic when hospitalizations and deaths peaked late last year, but just nine of the breathing apparatuses were distributed to hospitals at that time.

“Hospitals have been aware of the availability of these ventilators since they were purchased,” said Sarah Ekstrand, a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Health. “The goal of the state’s pandemic response has always been to protect the health of Iowans and to preserve our health care resources. The ventilators were purchased in support of that goal. The early phase of the pandemic was a time of much uncertainty and supply constraint concerns.”

The state ordered the ventilators in March 2020, the same month the first COVID-19 cases were identified in Iowa. By the time the devices arrived in late summer, hospitals had already scrambled to acquire ventilators during the first surge in hospitalizations that spring.

Read more in the Iowa Capital Disptach.