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Multiple California counties are having trouble securing enough ventilators to handle an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases in their hospitals later this month, as Gov. Gavin Newsom ships hundreds of ventilators around the country, loaning them to that have a more immediate need for the life-saving medical equipment.
Santa Clara County issued an order on Wednesday forcing “entities and individuals to report large inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators” so the county can “understand what supplies currently exist and to plan for a potential hospital surge.”
“While we have requested State and Federal resources, it is important to know the volume of PPE or ventilators that already exist in our local community,” Dr. Jennifer Tong, the hospital surge capacity branch chief for the county, said in a statement.
Santa Clara County’s order comes as The Los Angeles Times reported the local government has offered to pay $1,000 for any ventilator it can get its hands on and that Riverside County, Calif., officials recently had a request for 500 ventilators denied by the state.
The number of ventilators that Newsom recently lent to the national stockpile is 500.
“Riverside County is still waiting to receive an order of 1000 ventilators from the State!” Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries posted on Facebook Monday when he heard the news. “So now what do our hospitals do?”
The Times reported Wednesday that the county is still waiting on its order for 1,000 ventilators, which is separate from the earlier 500-ventilator order.
Hospitals in neither county are overwhelmed at this point, but with the peak in coronavirus cases and deaths yet to come in California, according to most models, they are working to ensure they fill their anticipated need for ventilators.
“California is stepping up to help our fellow Americans in New York and across the country who are being impacted the hardest right now by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Newsom said in a Monday statement about California’s loan to the national stockpile. “I know that if the tables were turned and we were experiencing a hospital surge, other states would come to our aid and provide ventilators just as we are today.”
Newsom emphasized in his Monday remarks that California will be able to get its ventilators back if and when it needs them.
“If we need them back in a few weeks, we’ll get them back,” he said. “These were lent. They were not given.”
Data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington on Wednesday projected that California would see its peak death rate from the coronavirus on April 15. New York’s peak death rate was projected to be on Thursday, April 9.
As of Wednesday night, California had 18,752 total confirmed cases while New York, the state hardest-hit by the coronavirus, had 151,069.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and L.A. Ross contributed to this report.