San Francisco, April 7 (IANS) California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that his state will lend 500 ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile inventory in order to help other hard-hit states like New York to fight the COVID-19 epidemic.
Newsom disclosed the decision at his daily briefing on the coronavirus outbreak on Monday from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, the state capital which is one of sites that had been procured by the authority to hold additional medical beds, reports Xinhua news agency.
“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,” said Newsom, adding that even though the state prepared for a surge of infections but “we can’t turn our back on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now.”
The move comes as officials in states including New York and Louisiana warned that the pandemic was straining the capacity of local health care systems and leading to dire shortages of equipment including ventilators, which provide oxygen to severely ill patients.
President Donald Trump said at a press briefing on Sunday that the federal government delivered about 1,700 ventilators to states over the last 24 hours, including 500 to New Jersey, 200 to Louisiana, 300 to Michigan, 600 to Illinois, and 100 to Massachusetts.
However, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said on CNN that his state had received 200 ventilators from the federal government but still expected to run out on April 9.
The federal government shipped 170 ventilators to Los Angeles County on March 29 to help California respond to the fatal disease.
Newsom said on Monday that California hospitals now had an inventory of 11,036 ventilators, a jump from their original estimate of 7,587 ventilators.
That increase is due to old ventilators being refurbished and the acquisition of new ones.
As of Monday, there have been 14,336 confirmed case of COVID-19 and 343 deaths in California, while New York has recorded more than 4,000 deaths.
The US has reported a total of 368,196 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 10,986 deaths.