California to send 500 ventilators to help other states in need; COVID-19 to peak in mid-May

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced that California would loan 500 state-owned ventilators to other states like New York, which are experiencing immediate supply shortages as a result of COVID-19.

 “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. “We still have a long road ahead of us in the Golden State – and we’re aggressively preparing for a surge – but we can’t turn our back on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now. We’re meeting this moment with compassion."

He added: "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 said a key reason for being able to share to the Strategic National Stockpile is because California went from having 7,500 ventilators to having more than 11,000, thanks to an aggressive campaign of procuring them.

Hundreds more ventilators also keep coming into California. Newsom said 500 are expected to come in on Tuesday.

And what if California begins to need them?

"If we need them back in a few weeks we'll get them back," Newsom said at a news conference at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

At the same time, Newsom said California still continues to prepare for a possible COVID-19 surge, which he anticipated would peak in mid-May. 

Newsom said state is securing thousands of beds in alternate care facilities, protecting the homeless, purchasing critical medical equipment and launching new programs like the Health Corps to recruit health care professionals.

As of Monday, Newsom said nearly 81,000 medical professionals have signed up on the state website so far to help during the crisis. 

Over the weekend, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would return 400 ventilators that his state had received from the Strategic National Stockpile. 

This story was reported from Oakland, Calif. Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez