More personal protective equipment is coming for providers in the hard-hit New York area after the federal government confiscated more than half a million medical supplies from people hoarding the products to profit later. 

The Department of Justice announced Thursday investigators collected more than 598,000 medical grade gloves, 192,000 N95 respirator masks and 130,000 surgical masks, procedure masks, N100 masks, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels, particulate filters, bottles of hand sanitizer, and bottles of spray disinfectant. 

N95 medical mask

Providers have been pleading for more PPE as they continue to face critical supply shortages. They’ve even begun conserving masks and gowns to avoid exhausting all of their PPE supplies, according to the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.

“Nursing homes and all long term care providers desperately need PPE. We are now at the point we are calling on the public for donations for PPE to long-term care providers,” AHCA/NCAL said in a recent statement.  

The federal government plans to pay owners of the hoarded supplies pre-COVID-19 fair market value so they won’t illicitly profit from the pandemic. The supplies are being distributed to health departments in New York and New Jersey and will later be given to healthcare workers. 

“Cracking down on the hoarding of vital supplies allows us to distribute this material to the heroic healthcare workers on the frontlines who are most in need,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.