Santa Clara County ask residents, businesses to report large PPE inventories

Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody.

Santa Clara County officials announced a new public health order Wednesday that asks all businesses and residents to report any large inventories of personal protective equipment and ventilators, as county leaders anticipate a shortage in equipment essential to protecting people battling COVID-19.

All businesses and people with a large supply are asked to report on a one-time basis through an online survey. Officials said the goal is to know what supplies are currently in the county, appropriately plan for a potential hospital surge and to ensure the health for frontline medical workers and patients. 

“We know there are actually many businesses in our community that do have significant stocks of this kind of PPE,” said County Council James Williams. “Many are not being used right now.”

The order asks those with 5,000 or more nitrile or vinyl gloves, 500 or more N95 masks and 500 or more surgical masks to complete the online survey. All ventilators, regardless of condition, should be reported. A full list of items that should be included is available on the county website.

“Our goal is to ensure the capacity of our health care system by expanding the number of available hospital beds and by ensuring that the workforce that is providing care for patients has sufficient personal protective equipment,” said Dr. Jennifer Tong, the county's hospital surge capacity branch chief. Adding, "it is important to know the volume of PPE or ventilators that already exist in our local community.”

The information provided will remain confidential and the order does not require you to donate your PPE or ventilator, officials said. Donations of brand new, sealed PPE or ventilators in any condition can be made through VMC foundation

The new order comes as the county reported early signs that the current stay-at-home order has provided additional time for the health care system to prepare through expanding bed capacity and securing personal protective equipment.