CA now “confident” about supplying state needs

In this file photo from Feb. 20, 2020, workers pack N95 respirators in a medical supply factory in Nantong in east China's Jiangsu province. Photo by FeatureChina via AP Images

In a surprise announcement on MSNBC Tuesday night, Gov. Gavin Newsom said California will soon begin receiving shipments of 200 million medical-grade masks per month, enough to meet the needs of the state and potentially those “of other Western states” as well.

Screenshot of Gov. Newsom talking with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC on April 7.

The announcement marked a striking change from just a few weeks ago, when the state said it was in dire need of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and ventilators for patients. But in recent days, Newsom has expressed confidence in California’s supply levels. On Monday, he sent the federal government 500 ventilators, and now it seems the state will soon have an excess of masks.

  • Newsom on the Rachel Maddow show: “We’ve been competing against other states, against other nations, against our own federal government, for PPE. We’re not waiting around any longer. … 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.
  • “We’re confident we can supply the needs of the state of California, potentially the needs of other Western states. … We decided enough is enough, let’s use the purchasing power of the state of California as a nation-state. We did just that.”

How much purchasing power, exactly? According to a California Department of Finance letter, the state will make a down payment of $495 million, with a projected total cost of $990 million.

Newsom’s office did not name the nonprofit or companies involved in the deal, saying details would be forthcoming at a press conference today. One of the companies that has been a major supplier of masks and PPE nationally and internationally throughout the coronavirus crisis, including in California, is Santa Barbara-based Direct Relief. A spokesman for the company said Tuesday evening that it has been in touch with the governor’s office.

Newsom said the masks will be manufactured overseas and were sourced through the nonprofits and California manufacturer with “appropriate contacts in Asia.”

According to the Department of Finance letter, the state will also work with the federal government to “obtain and strategically place sterilization units across the state so that we can clean and re-use PPE such as N95 masks.”

Leave a Reply

The Exedra comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. To participate, we ask that Exedra commenters please provide a first and last name. Please note that comments expressing congratulations or condolences may be published without full names. (View our full Comments Policy.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *