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How Wisconsin was able to get 10,000 masks, 1,000 medical outfits in a donation from 'sister state' in China
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How Wisconsin was able to get 10,000 masks, 1,000 medical outfits in a donation from 'sister state' in China

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MADISON — Wisconsin received a donation of 10,000 procedural masks and 1,000 medical outfits from the Heilongjiang Province of China. Heilongjiang and Wisconsin have considered each other "sister states" since 1982.

Gov. Tony Evers stated that seeking out this donation is another example of how his administration is "pursuing every avenue — state, national and international — to obtain the resources necessary for our (pandemic) response."

The donation was orchestrated in-part by Carolyn Brady, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls' coordinator of international partnership and outreach programs. Brady independently reached out to a foreign affairs office in Heilongjiang to see if any masks were available.

The governor of Heilongjiang, Wang Xiankui, sending the shipment of the 11,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help his sister state fight off the virus that first appeared in his country.

“This generous gift in response to our need is just one evidence of their warm regard, for which we, and I trust all of the direct recipients, are most grateful," Brady stated.

While there has been criticism of how China responded to the COVID-19 pandemic at the outbreak, the country has begun returning to normal after the novel coronavirus broke out there in late 2019.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation coordinated the shipment with help from the Chinese government while the Wisconsin Technical College System Foundation received the goods and immediately donated them to the state, which eliminated "the need for duty payments," according to the Office of the Governor.

“The Wisconsin Technical College System Foundation is honored to able to play a part in bringing PPE donations to Wisconsin at this crucial time,” Paul Gabriel, executive director of the Wisconsin Technical College System Foundation, said in a press release. “We appreciate being part of a dedicated and diverse ‘can do’ effort to bring in protective masks and gowns under Governor Evers’ leadership.”

Evers and several other governors have been critical of how PPE is distributed within the U.S., with states feeling they have been pitted against one another to get the potentially life saving equipment. These kinds of donations help circumvent that interstate battle.

“Competition for COVID-19 supplies is intense," Evers stated.

The state is still seeking continuing donations of PPE and is willing to purchase equipment too. For more info to donate or to sell through the state's buyback program, visit: covid19supplies.wi.gov/Donations.

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