By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – With critical equipment needed to save lives in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn is issuing a stern warning to those who may be hoarding such items. The equipment is out there, but it appears some of it may not be making it to the front lines.

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President Donald Trump spoke of items shipped “going out the back door” of some facilities that were to receive them.

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Dunn is issuing a clear message: “Our primary goal is to disrupt — whether it is a fraud or whether it is hoarding — those kind of activities so supplies can get to people, so fraud can be stopped and people can’t be scammed of their money.”

Items include the N95 respirator masks that protect medical professionals from the ill patients, medical gowns and portable respirators that allow the critical patients to breathe.

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Dunn suggests such items are being held in garages and warehouses by those trying to gouge buyers with vastly increased prices. He is talking about those people with just a relatively small number as well as those with thousands of items.

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UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital is one of those facilities trying to make do with what they have, but a surge of new patients is expected.

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Dr. Marc Moss appeared with Gov. Jared Polis at a news conference on Monday to emphasize the need for the protective and medical equipment. He said, “All across the state our front line providers are working in a difficult and insecure environment. They are literally putting their lives on the line for their patients.”

The federal government is warning anyone who is caught hoarding these items, they will not only be prosecuted, but the items will be seized.

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Rick Sallinger