CA strengthens PPE stockpile to avoid shortages as pandemic continues

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As the number of COVID-19 cases rises, the state of California is adding millions more N95 and surgical masks to its stockpile.

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The state of California is strengthening its stockpile of personal protective equipment, or PPE, to prevent shortages as the number of COVID-19 cases surges.

The enhanced stockpile, which was announced by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, will include 100 million N95 respirators and 200 million surgical masks by early fall.

“Providing front-line workers the protective equipment they need is critical to our state’s response to COVID-19,” Newsom said in a press release. “Securing a reliable supply chain of PPE allows us to distribute millions of protective masks to our essential workforce while preserving millions more in our state’s stockpile for future use.”

In addition to the increased stockpile, the state has partnered with BYD North America to manufacture 120 million N95 respirators and 300 million surgical masks, which will be used to provide protection to front-line health workers and aid other states with PPE shortages.

As of press time, the state has distributed 86.4 million N95 masks and 297 million surgical masks to hospital workers, first responders, farm and factory workers and nursing home workers. It has also partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide more than 14.7 million N95 masks and 87.5 million surgical masks to private sector medical providers.

As for reusing equipment, 194,865 N95 respirators have been successfully decontaminated for hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, government employees and hospice care, among other health care facilities.

Check back for updates.

Kate Finman is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.