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Officials say rumors ventilators were taken from hospitals are false

Posted at 2:26 PM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-04 14:26:19-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Rumors swirled on social media Friday night and Saturday morning that the National Guard arrived at local hospitals and took ventilators and supplies. Officials have addressed those rumors, calling them false.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz addressed the rumors around 11 a.m. Saturday tweeting in part:

"There is a rumor that the National Guard took ventilators in the middle of the night from Roswell Park, Buffalo General and the other hospitals. That is categorically FALSE."

Later in the afternoon Kaleida Health Chief of Staff, Michael P. Hughes, issued a statement addressing the rumors:

"The rumors that have circulated on social media are completely false. The National Guard was not at Buffalo General Medical Center or any of our other hospitals. Nor were ventilators or supplies taken from us. This type of misinformation only causes further panic and chaos in a time of great uncertainty. That said, we still vehemently oppose the Governor's executive order to take 20% of upstate hospitals' equipment and supplies. We will continue to fight this in an effort to protect our patients as well as our physicians, nurses and staff during this pandemic."

Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an Executive Order would be signed to allow the New York National Guard to take unused equipment from private health care organizations and place them in hospitals that need them the most in New York City.

Saturday, Cuomo said if you ask hospitals what ventilators they have unused and available and take 20 percent of that, he believes that is 500 ventilators. A number he called significant.