SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County on Wednesday ordered businesses and individuals to report large inventories of personal protective equipment and ventilators within one week, as health officials try to gauge what supplies exist in the county to prepare for a potential surge in coronavirus patients. The order comes as the county reports nearly 100 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths.
County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody issued the order that requires the disclosure of large PPE inventories via an online survey, saying the order would help ensure the health and safety of frontline medical workers, first responders, and patients.
As of Wednesday morning, Santa Clara County now has 1,380 confirmed cases since outbreak began, an increase of 95 from the day before. There are 46 people who have died from the virus.
“While I’d like to say that we will not have any further deaths or new cases to report, we know that will not be the case,” said Cody. “We know the virus is widespread in our community. We will continue to see more deaths, more cases, more hospitalizations in the days and months to come.”
“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, Hospital Surge Capacity Branch Chief of the county’s Emergency Operations Center in a statement. “While we have requested State and Federal resources, it is important to know the volume of PPE or ventilators that already exist in our local community.”
County health officials report the shelter-in-place order shows signs of having slowed the rate on COVID-19 infections and provided additional time for the health care system to expand bed capacity and secure more PPE.
“The community’s response to the shelter-in-place order has slowed the spread, providing more time for us to ensure the health care infrastructure can respond. This is the next step to ensure the safety of our health care workers,” said Cody in a statement. “During this enormously challenging time, our collective action is what has been saving lives and this is another way we can continue that trajectory.”
The county provided the following examples of items to be reported:
- Nitrile or vinyl gloves (if more than 5,000 items)
- N95 masks (if more than 500 items)
- Surgical or procedure masks (if more than 500 items)
- Safety goggles (if more than 100 items)
- Face shields (if more than 100 items)
- Gallon or larger hand sanitizers that are recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as effective in combatting COVID-19 (if more than 10 containers)
- All ventilators (regardless of condition)
The order does not require the disclosed items to be donated, but PPE donations are encouraged through the VMC Foundation.
A complete list of items to be reported can be found at sccphd.org/cv19PPE. The disclosures can be completed in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese.