LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The city of Los Angeles is putting its considerable economic heft behind the effort to address shortages of coronavirus test kits, swabs, masks, gowns and other equipment needed to fight the outbreak.
Critical medical supplies such as masks, swabs, hospital gowns, aprons, and of course, coronavirus tests, have been in short supply across the country as the outbreak picks up speed. Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu says officials are working around the clock to address these shortfalls.
Ryu pointed out that Los Angeles is one of the biggest economies in the world, one of biggest contributors to the national GDP and a major center of manufacturing.
“We’re waiting for the federal government to step up and help fix this problem,” Ryu said. “…we can’t wait for the federal government to step up. We are Los Angeles and we are going to step up ourselves.”
The city has already announced a deal with a South Korean company to buy 20,000 tests. Ryu says Seegene Technologies has also committed to selling Los Angeles 100,000 tests per week as they ramp up its testing capacity.
Ryu said it is also working with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Fund for Los Angeles and his colleagues to ask local manufacturers and factories to convert their production lines into making all the supplies that are needed amid this pandemic. Garcetti has already worked with the county in securing millions more face masks.
“These are all components that the federal government, whether using the defense production act or using FEMA response, should be helping, but since they’re not, we’re going to take matters into our own hands,” Ryu said.