Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that California has secured a monthly supply of 200 million N95 respiratory and surgical masks to help protect healthcare workers and other essential personnel at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
“We decided enough’s enough. Let’s use the power, the purchasing power of the state of California, as a nation-state,” Newsom told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. “We did just that. And in the next few weeks, we’re going to see supplies, at that level, into the state of California and potentially the opportunity to export some of those supplies to states in need.”
Newsom on Tuesday said the state already has distributed 41.4 million N95 masks across California, including 1 million from the federal government. The Democratic governor has said California must be self-reliant and cannot depend on the federal government, which is receiving requests from states across the country, to supply live-saving respirators and other essential medical supplies.
“It’s not an indictment. It’s not a cheap shot. At the end of the day, they don’t have the masks at the national stockpile,” Newsom said Tuesday of the federal response. “We decided enough of the small ball. Let’s use our purchasing power. Let’s go at scale.”
Newsom said the consortium will supply at least 150 million N95 masks to be used by frontline healthcare providers as well as 50 million surgical masks.
The governor said California may share the cache of masks with other states that are also in need of medical supplies.
The masks are among the most coveted supplies needed in hospitals and medical facilities that are treating people infected with the coronavirus amid a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.