By Dave Sebastian
General Motors Co. is making 30,000 ventilators for the national stockpile in a $489.4 million contract with the Department of Health and Human Services, as surging Covid-19 cases have tested medical capacities across the U.S.
Under the contract, struck under the Defense Production Act, GM is expected to deliver 6,132 ventilators by June 1 and the remainder by the end of August, the department said Wednesday.
GM said it is working with Ventec Life Systems to make the ventilators.
President Trump last week moved to use the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era national-security mobilization law, to help major manufacturers secure supplies companies need to make ventilators and respirators. 3M Co., the primary U.S. producer of N95 masks, has stepped up production, with Ford Motor Co. helping with the effort.
Initially reluctant to use the DPA, Mr. Trump has pressed private companies, including GM, to begin making the medical equipment and supplies.
"By rating contracts under the DPA, HHS is helping manufacturers like GM get the supplies they need to produce ventilators as quickly as possible, while also ensuring that these ventilators are routed through the Strategic National Stockpile to where they're needed most," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
Ventilators are in crucial short supply as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the U.S., and cases are swelling in major metro areas, such as New York. The federal government's national stockpile has sent out nearly half of its ventilators and has fewer than 10,000 still in hand.
Write to Dave Sebastian at firstname.lastname@example.org