SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Governor Gavin Newsom revealed a Silicon Valley energy company had converted operations in order to refurbish old ventilators.
Newsom said California currently has a little over 4,200 ventilators, but more than a thousand of them don’t work.
On Saturday, Newsom toured Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale to unveil its project to refurbish the ventilators it received from the federal stockpile and the state’s storage.
“170 ventilators came from the national stockpile that went directly to LA County. The conversation wasn’t just about those 170, it was about those 170 weren’t working,” said Newsom.
“Rather than lamenting about it, rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers, generating headlines...we got a car and a truck and we had those 170 brought here to this facility [Bloom Energy] at 8am this morning.”
Newsom said Bloom Energy will repair the ventilators and deliver them back to LA County on Monday.
The state of California also needs its own stockpile of ventilators fixed – Newsom said 514 ventilators had not been unboxed since 2011 and their batteries no longer work.
Bloom Energy, which makes fuel cells, has already repaired 80 ventilators and plans to have an additional 120 ventilators refurbished by the end of Saturday.
“A week ago, none of us knew anything about ventilators other than knowing what it was being used for,” said Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar.
“But manufacturing is in our DNA. Innovation is in our DNA… How difficult can it be and what is the worst thing that can happen?”
Bloom Energy is one of 350 companies offering California help with medical equipment and supplies to fight coronavirus COVID-19.
Governor Newsom said the number of patients in ICU beds went up 105 percent overnight and there are now more than a thousand hospitalizations. The governor says its goal is to have 10-thousand ventilators.
Bloom Energy said it is also willing to help east coast cities, by converting its facility in Delaware to also be able to refurbish old ventilators.