March 26, 2020
Microsoft procured and then expedited a shipment of medical supplies needed to help fight the coronavirus. The shipment was stranded in Memphis after Microsoft’s overseas team had arranged for the supplies to be delivered by an undisclosed foreign government last week.
The load of 240,000 desperately-needed N-95 surgical masks was being held at a distribution center awaiting FDA inspection. Late last Saturday, Microsoft President Brad Smith reached out to White House staff involved in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and helped arrange the release of the supplies.
Smith told the Seattle Times, “The FDA was short-handed, and so those (masks) were stuck in Memphis from last Thursday to Saturday,’’ adding it was already 8 p.m. ET when he phoned Washington, D.C. “I actually reached out directly to the White House staff — specifically, people who work for the National Security Council … and they were able to scramble the FDA and get everything released by first thing Sunday morning.’’
The unique procurement endeavor leveraged Microsoft’s supply chain to secure 15,000 eye protection goggles, 850 medical caps, 850 protective suits and 120 infrared thermometers. The first of several expected shipments began arriving earlier this week. Microsoft expects an additional 15,000 eye goggles, 35,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and 2,000 disinfectant wipe containers to arrive for donation later this week. The state’s Department of Enterprise Services will pick up the supplies at Microsoft’s warehouse in Redmond for distribution to the highest-need areas.
*Photo Courtesy of Microsoft
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