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Gov. Newsom: California Spending $1.4 Billion On 200 Million Face Masks, Other PPE

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Gov. Gavin Newsom talked about California's efforts to acquire personal protective equipment, including 200 million face masks, as well as delivering the latest state coronavirus statistics in his daily update on California's response to coronavirus. Here are the highlights:


  • A total of 16,957 people have tested positive for coronavirus
  • 1,154 coronavirus patients are in ICUs — a 4.2% increase from the previous day
  • 2,714 are hospitalized with coronavirus — a 3.9% increase
  • The death toll over the last 24 hours makes for one of the highest COVID-19-related death rates in California so far. Newsom said that 68 people have died, bringing the state's total to 442


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Newsom noted that only 37% of the demographic data has been processed so far — 6,306 of the 16,957 total coronavirus-positive cases. Within that current data, the percentage positives by race are:

  • 30% Hispanic
  • 14% Asian
  • 6% Black

The percentage of deaths:

  • 29% Hispanic
  • 16% Asian
  • 3% Black

Newsom said that these numbers track roughly with population numbers in the state, but cautioned that it is a limited sample size at this point, so that may not be the case when looking at the broader population.


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Newsom said that the state will invest more than $1.4 billion into personal protective equipment (PPE) for both medical workers and frontline employees, including grocery store workers. The state has secured contracts for 200 million masks from various providers. Newsom previously announced the effort on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC Tuesday evening.

The governor said that California's efforts to acquire large amounts of PPE at scale was not an inherent criticism of the Trump administration. He thanked the administration, President Trump himself, and FEMA for their cooperation.

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Responding to reports of PPE being seized by the federal government while it was on its way to other states, state Office of Emergency Services director Mark Ghilarducci said the state didn't foresee having any issues in that regard.

The state continues to look for hand sanitizer, testing reagents, and other supplies to help in the fight against coronavirus, Newsom said. So far, 2,300 individuals and companies have filled out applications on the state's site for contributing supplies.

The state is working with non-governmental organizations in these efforts, Ghilarducci said, as well as directly contracting with large firms. This includes a direct pipeline to a California company that manufactures masks in China, allowing for monthly mask shipments to California.

PPE is also being acquired from Asia with the assistance of FEMA, Ghilarducci said. The state is also working with a new technology that allows 80,000 N95 masks per day to be cleaned and reused — it will be in California within the next week and will allow those masks to be used more than 20 times, Newsom said.


There still isn't a specific end date available for when stay-at-home orders may come to an end, Newsom said. Performing coronavirus contact tracing will be an important part of being able to reopen communities, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.

With weather improving and Easter this weekend, Newsom reiterated caution against gathering in parks and the need to continue practicing social distancing over the weekend.

Newsom extended his appreciation to people of faith during Passover for not gathering together and practicing social distancing.

The governor thanked the National Guard for its work helping in the coronavirus response, including delivering ventilators and working in food banks.


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