As governor sends 500 ventilators to national stockpile, Santa Clara County seeks used equipment

On Monday, Governor Newsom announced that California will be lending 500 ventilators to the national stockpile to help New York, Louisiana and other coronavirus hot spots. The governor made the announcement at the same time Santa Clara County is looking for used ventilators. The county is willing to pay a $1,000 bounty for each ventilator even if it’s broken.

“Even if they are broken we are interested in those ventilators because we want to get as many as we can to Santa Clara County,” said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Right now, Santa Clara County has 435 ventilators available and foresees needing 1,000 more. Sunnyvale-based Bloom Energy will refurbish them. The ventilators will then be distributed to all 11 hospitals in the county.

“Ventilators like these are expensive high-tech pieces of equipment but we know they are out there,” said Chris Wilder, the CEO of the Valley Medical Foundation.

Ironically, Governor Newsom announced Monday that 500 ventilators from California’s supply will be sent to the national stockpile.

“We not only want to extend thoughts and prayers but we are also extending a hand of support with ventilators,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The governor said lending the equipment was possible because hospitals throughout California have increased inventory from 7,500 to more than 11,000 ventilators. He also said ventilators will be lent not given.

“For all of those reasons and the responsibility the moral and ethical responsibility of providing resources in real time to those most in need, that’s why we thought it appropriate to send those,” said Gov. Newsom.

Mark Neveau, a former director with FEMA appeared on KTVU on Monday and weighed in on the governor’s announcement.

“He also saw a need across the nation that was just dire and so they transitioned that to the strategic stockpile so FEMA can move those ventilators wherever priority needs it,” said Neveau.

The governor said the peak is not expected in California until May. Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said counties need be resourceful and prepared. Santa Clara County is one of the hardest hit areas during the outbreak with more than 1,200 positive cases and 39 lives lost.

“We are a country that is in need and I do respect the governor is balancing the needs of Californians while recognizing that New York may hit their surge sooner than us,” said Chavez.

Where to find these old ventilators? The county says elder care facilities, surgical centers, and universities and colleges may have some that are not in use.

For those interested in giving old ventilators, call (408) 885-5299.