RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Governor of California is loaning 500 ventilators to other states, while some counties here at home are still waiting for ventilators, in preparation for next week’s expected surge in coronavirus cases.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is sending 100 to New York, the state hit hardest by COVID-19, 100 to New Jersey and the rest elsewhere. Meanwhile, Riverside County, the 10th largest county in the nation, was denied 500 ventilators and had put in a second request for 1,000 ventilators. The county is already mourning dozens of coronavirus deaths, including two deputies in one day.
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“Right now, we have no ventilators coming to Riverside County,” said Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries. “We’re OK today. We know that with what we have on hand. We’re worried about what’s going to happen later this month.”
Gov. Newsom contacted the Supervisor Thursday morning to say he has access to ship more when necessary.
“He assured me that if we need ventilators he’s going to come through with ventilators. He was pretty direct about that if we need them we’re going to get them,” said Jeffries.
“If the tables were turned and we were experiencing a hospital surge, other states would come to our aid,” said Gov. Newsom in his daily news conference. “We can’t just sit on assets when we can save lives and help our fellow Americans. Ventilators can be used over and over and over again and when those ventilators are used to save lives in those other states, we have the firm commitment from those states to send them back to the state of California.”
Supervisor Jeffries says Riverside County is also trying to purchase 330 ventilators on its own, for roughly $12 million but he says the purchase may get diverted by FEMA.