Gov. Wolf addresses Pa. Farm Show PPE stockpile, plan for its removal

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg has been idle for a year and lost an estimated $296 million in state and local revenue. When will it re-open? The answer appears to be as soon as it can get boxes (and boxes) out.

The Pa. Farm Show is typically home to animals, cars, guns and boats. But for the past year it has merely housed PPE.

“What’s the plan for PPE moving forward? What’s the plan for the Farm Show?” state Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) asked.

Those are but two questions Grove will have when he chairs a House hearing Wednesday on PPE procurement and storage.

“PPE goes bad so you need a plan to restock, you need to get the stockpile you have out and it’s been a year, so we should some formalized thoughts on how to do this,” Grove said.

Abc27’s Dennis Owens asked Governor Wolf about the $51 million stockpile.

“What is the goal with that PPE sitting there?” Owens asked.

Wolf said the state is seeking a new location to house the equipment, but is open to other options.

“We’ve recognized that we can’t keep it at the Farm Show forever, so we’re looking to rent new space, and if there are other ideas out there I’m happy to take those good ideas,” Wolf said.

It was a bad idea, some say, for the state to sit on PPE while hospitals and nursing homes struggled to get it. But UPMC Pinnacle President Phil Guarneschelli said that was not the case for his hospital.

“Were you able to get it if you needed it? Did you know it was there? I knew it was there, fortunately, we did not need it but we knew where to go if we did,” Guarneschelli said.

The Governor insists he learned from the last year that a PPE stockpile is a requirement ahead of the next pandemic.

“If we ever go through anything like this again, let’s not be as unprepared as we were when this started,” Wolf said.

Local officials have asked the state to get the PPE out as quickly as possible, so rent-paying events can move back in.

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