SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California National Guard flew ventilators Tuesday to New York, New Jersey and Illinois as part of an effort to help other states manage a crush of coronavirus hospitalizations, the governor's office said.
“We couldn’t be more proud as a state to be sending those ventilators back East," Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
The announcement that ventilators had been shipped — 100 to each state — came a day after Newsom said the state would lend 500 to states in need. The remaining 200 will be split between Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia and Nevada and will be sent by plane or truck in the coming days, said Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for California's Office of Emergency Services.
On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence said during a White House briefing that two territories would get some of the ventilators, and he did not mention New York, New Jersey or Illinois. It's not clear why the list of states he outlined was different than the list of state's outlined the next day by Newsom's office and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The decision on where the send the ventilators was a collaboration between the state, Pence and the federal coronavirus task force and FEMA, Newsom said.
Washington and Oregon are also sharing ventilators with hard-hit New York.
Newsom's office shared a video of workers in a warehouse boxing the ventilators and preparing them for shipment. One worker wrote “All NYC needs is love...from CA” in black market on one of the cardboard packages.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.
California plans to hit its coronavirus peak in mid-May and its hospitals have been able to refurbish and procure new ventilators, giving the state confidence to share some of its supply now, Newsom said. Illinois officials told California officials that the state plans to receive a new ventilator shipment in early May and will send ventilators back to California at that time, said Ferguson, the California spokesman.
Newsom said California was sending its ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile, a source of key medical supplies for state’s battling the new coronavirus. But spokesmen for FEMA and Newsom’s office said California is actually sharing the supplies via the Emergency Management Agency Compact, an interstate organization for states to share resources during emergencies.