(LAT) – California is to receive more masks after state hits record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases.
The state’s case numbers are so high, they have surpassed New York’s, with 414 thousand.
California currently has 423 thousand cases and 8,038 deaths.
On July 22nd, California Governor Gavin Newsom hosted a briefing on the state’s response to the pandemic.
In the briefing, Newsom talks about how California’s numbers could have been expected.
“We are a state the size of 21 states combined, so it’s not surprising now that as we have begun reopening key sectors of our economy and people continue to mix … that our numbers would start to go up, in total the highest in the nation,”-Governor Newsom
As for the number of cases, he reminded everyone how deadly the virus is:
“It’s just another proof point of how deadly this disease continues to be.”
What About The Masks?
At the conference, Newsome announced that he is extending the contract with Chinese firm BYD to buy 300 million surgical masks and 120 million N95 face masks to protect medical workers and others, while he also seeks bids from companies that can provide protective gear in future months.
The bridge contract is worth $315 million.
The governor said the extension is necessary because California is sending out 46 million masks per month and has an inventory of 111 million N95 masks.
Newsom also mentioned that Butte County has become the 35th county on a state watchlist of jurisdictions with high infection and hospitalization rates.
Counties on the ‘watchlist’, for three days, must close many businesses where people gather, including restaurant dining rooms and movie theaters.
An urgent warning from statewide hospital administrators said that only about 5,000 hospital beds are available statewide, with shortages likely in some of the hardest-hit regions.
“They’re looking at nontraditional places in hospitals” to set up additional beds, said Carmela Coyle, president, and CEO of the California Hospital Association.
“We are looking at a far, faster race of increase than previously,” Coyle said.
While the state has established additional locations to handle a surge of an additional 20,000 coronavirus patients, current transmission rates also pose risks for staffing nurses with critical care training.
The hospitals association is asking Governor Newsom to seek additional federal help in providing staff and to rethink nurse-patient ratios as conditions worsen.
Newsom said the state has a strategy “to address the prospect of a surge in hospital utilization, the need to develop alternative care sites outside of our hospital system to help isolate and quarantine individuals.”
The governor acknowledged that he continues to hear complaints from medical workers who are not getting enough medical masks and other protective equipment despite increased deliveries by the state.
He said one advocate for nurses told him that many are getting only two or three masks a week, although medical standards require more.
“That’s unacceptable,” Newsom said. “We still hear those stories and we have got to address that issue.”
What do you think about the current situation? Should the governor ask for federal help?
Voice your opinions in the comments.