TOPEKA — The Kansas director of emergency management said Tuesday state purchases of $64 million in personal protective equipment during the pandemic included substandard N95 respirator masks and bogus surgical gowns that were little more than plastic bags with openings for a person’s arms.
Maj. Gen. David Weishaar, adjutant general of the Kansas National Guard and the state director of emergency management, told an interim committee of the Kansas Legislature about the acquisition of flawed equipment acquired since the pandemic emerged in March. The disclosure, which apparently surfaced Monday during a closed meeting with legislators, came as the committee considered possible amendments to the state’s emergency management act.
Sen. Dennis Pyle, a Hiawatha Republican, said the volume of equipment purchased by local, state and federal government agencies in response to spread of COVID-19 represented as an opportunity for fraud. He speculated greedy individuals may have an interest in perpetuating the pandemic to score big profits.