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As Nevada fights to gain supplies for its medical workers to fight the coronavirus, the head of the state’s task force revealed Monday a “secret weapon” to gain the necessary equipment.

“We have that secret weapon here because companies based in Nevada can reach directly into China, South Korea, the UAE, Europe, North and South America, and we’re doing that right now,” said Jim Murren, the former MGM Resorts International CEO who is currently the head of the state’s COVID-19 Responsive Task Force. “We’re calling people. In my case, I’m calling people I’ve known for 10 or 20 years and I’m saying, look, you like Las Vegas. You like coming to Nevada, we need you, we’ve helped you. You need to help us.”

Murren spoke with reporters Monday on a virtual news conference and said more than $4 million in private donations over the past two days to assist the state’s hospitals and medical providers in obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) to help deal with the pandemic.

“We’re up against bigger states, better financed states. We’re also up against the federal government in order to secure some of these supplies, test kits and equipment,” Murren said. “So we feel that we’ll be able to punch above our weight because we have this unique network of the private sector procurement companies in the state, and very philanthropic families in the state that will allow us to get the resources we need, to get toward the front of the line instead of the back of the line.”

Murren said any support already raised along with any additional will go into an emergency fund that will be run by the Nevada Community Foundation. Murren said the funds will be distributed to state and local agencies, as well as to healthcare providers and nonprofits, but the ultimate coordination of where the funds will go would be left up to the state.

“The state will determine where the money goes,” he said. “The state will determine where the medical supplies go. It is absolutely critical that we use science in the state of Nevada to determine where our most pressing needs are.”

Murren said he had spent the last week meeting daily with task force members, state officials and members of the community to outline goals and to make sure the group is on the same page. The hope was to add more resources and get more test kids, more supplies and additional funding to obtain protective gear.

About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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