State Watch

$7M in PPE damaged after being left outside for months by California county

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Nearly $7 million of personal protective equipment purchased by a California county was damaged in rainstorms after it was left outside for months.

The equipment and cleaning supplies were part of a surplus stockpile that San Mateo County in northern California purchased early on in the coronavirus pandemic. It was left outside after it was removed from the San Mateo Event Center last fall to make space for an event, according to a local ABC News affiliate station.

Boxes containing PPE such as face shields, goggles, bleach, mop buckets, non-medical-grade isolation gowns and sterile gowns, were reportedly damaged in the recent rain.

County officials released a statement on Friday detailing that the boxes of equipment should have been brought back inside the facility following the event.

“The County is solely responsible for our materials at the Event Center. We deeply regret that this occurred and are hiring an external investigator to identify all facts related to the damage and make recommendations to avoid future incidents,” County Manager Mike Callagy wrote.

Callagy also added in the statement that the incident did not affect the county’s “ability to provide safety equipment to first responders and others responding to COVID-19.”

San Mateo County reportedly keeps all of its N95 and KN95 respirators and gloves stored indoors and has noted that a demand for equipment that was ordered early on in the pandemic has decreased over time, according to The Associated Press.

Tags California coronavirus pandemic PPE

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