LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — In his Tuesday evening briefing, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city had signed a contract with manufacturer Honeywell to purchase 24 million N95 masks that would be sold at-cost to area hospitals in need.
The first 100,000 masks would be delivered by May, with another 500,000 by June. Come November, the company would be producing 1.2 million masks per month.
“These masks will meet our American standards,” Garcetti said. “There’ll be produced by a factory in the United States.”
Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles and the city’s chief logistics officer during the COVID-19 emergency, said the partnership will create domestic production and jobs — just six hours away — give hospitals and first responders a definitive timeline for receiving the much-needed personal protective equipment and provide equipment at a lower price point by tapping into the city’s immense purchasing power.
“Our ability here now to bring on these masks in the schedule that we’ve just outlined is helpful,” Seroka said. “It’s not going to complete all the work, but it’s a starting point for us, and we’ll continue to work to procure more product and get it out there.”
The mayor also said that the city’s L.A. Protects program, which matches garment workers with area businesses in need of non-medical face coverings, was continuing to grow — with 433 approved manufacturers to meet the needs of 2,000 essential businesses that have requested more than 1 million masks.
“My team has sent these businesses a database of L.A. Protects manufacturers so they can source them here locally,” Garcetti said. “We love the idea of buying things here, keeping it American, doing what we can to make sure that we put people back to work in our backyard.”
And it’s not just essential workers who have been receiving masks.
The mayor said that more than 65,000 non-medical masks had been delivered to unhoused Angelenos, outreach workers and those on the frontline working to protect and to save lives in Skid Row.
Garcetti also announced that the city was expanding COVID-19 testing to construction workers, whether or not they were symptomatic, starting Wednesday. On Monday, the mayor expanded asymptomatic testing to transportation workers.
In the city of Los Angeles, there were 308 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the number to 9,697 — a 3.3% increase.