SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Leaders of Santa Clara County, the Bay Area county hit hardest by coronavirus, are willing to pay a bounty of $1,000 to anyone who can provide a used or old ventilator.

Ventilators are often the best chance for survival for patients with severe coronavirus cases.

“We are using 217 ventilators today. We have 435 ventilators available today. We believe we need another thousand ventilators,” said Santa Clara Board of Supervisors President, Cindy Chavez, on Monday afternoon.

Chavez announced on Monday that Valley Health Care Foundation will pay a bounty of $1,000 for any ventilators.

“Even if they’re broken, we are interested in those ventilators, because we want to make sure we can here to Santa Clara County,” says Chavez.

Bloom Energy is working with Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose to fix up the used ventilators, then get them out to local hospitals. As of Monday evening, there were over 1,200 reported COVID-19 cases in the county and 42 deaths.

At the same time, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state is lending 500 ventilators to the national stockpile to help the hardest hit areas, like New York. He says right now, other states need them more.

“This does not go to some warehouse. It doesn’t collect dust, to immediately redeploy them based upon conditions on the ground,” said Newsom. He says there are more than 11,000 ventilators in the state’s health care system right now, with another 500 possibly being delivered on Tuesday.

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“We have capacity in our hospital beds, in our ICU beds and with our ventilator supply,” says Dr. Sara Cody, the Santa Clara County Public Health Officer.

Dr. Cody says it seems the shelter-in-place orders are working.

“We’re not out of the woods, but there are a few sparkles of optimism. We don’t look like other places in the country where cases are growing exponentially. Infections are not growing exponentially here,” says Dr. Cody.

Santa Clara County leaders say even though they haven’t seen a huge surge of cases, they want to have the necessary medical equipment on hand just in case it happens in the future.

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