LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – California is slated to begin receiving a staggering 200 million masks per month, Gov. Gavin Newsom reported Tuesday as the state battles against a rapid increase in coronavirus cases.
Newsom announced that the state of California has inked several contracts to obtain 150 million N95 masks and another 50 million surgical masks monthly.
The massive supply will begin coming in within a few weeks. The masks are being manufactured in Asia, but are being "sourced" through a large California manufacturer and a consortium of nonprofits.
"In the last 48 hours we have secured -- through a consortia of nonprofits and a manufacturer here in the state of California -- upwards of 200 million masks on a monthly basis that we're confident we can supply the needs of the state of California, potentially the needs of other western states," Newsom told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.
Newsom disclosed that California has so far distributed 41.4 million N95 masks to its hospital and clincs and has received only one million N95 masks from the federal government.
"We've been competing against other states, against other nations, against our own federal government for PPE (personal protective equipment)...we're not waiting around any longer. And we're no longer interested in the progress that we were seeing in the past."
Newsom emphasized that the state obtained the masks "at a price where we're not competing against others, we're not looking at gouging."
In his daily news conference Wednesday, Gov. Newsom said that he has asked the California State Legislature for $1.4 billion from the state's from the state's Disaster Response Emergency Operations Account specifically towards procuring PPE.
That PPE will not just go to healthcare workers, but other essential workers, such as grocery store employees, DMV workers and those that work with the homeless.
California will also provide masks to surrounding states with any of its excess supply, Newsom said.
Across the Southland, healthcare providers have been faced with massive shortages. A nurse at West Hills Hospital in L.A. told CBS2 he was suspended for posting on Facebook asking the public for donations of PPE.
The CEO of St. John's Well Child and Family Center, which has several community clinics across L.A. which serve low-income residents, told CBS2 Monday that he has had to strike a deal with a Chinese company in order to get masks and gowns for his staff.
One Burbank dentist is using 3D printers to make masks for fellow medical professionals.
Newsom reported Wednesday that there are now 16,957 coronavirus cases statewide, with a total of 442 deaths from the disease. Over the past 24 hours 68 people have died of COVID-19.
There are currently 2,714 people hospitalized with coronavirus in California, with 1,154 of those in ICU beds, a 4.2 percent increase from the day before.
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