Sunday, March 29, 2020

Under Schwarzenegger (R), California once had mobile hospitals and a ventilator stockpile. But under Jerry Brown (D) it dismantled them



They were ready to roll whenever disaster struck California: three 200-bed mobile hospitals that could be deployed to the scene of a crisis on flatbed trucks and provide advanced medical care to the injured and sick within 72 hours.

Each hospital would be the size of a football field, with a surgery ward, intensive care unit and X-ray equipment. Medical response teams would also have access to a massive stockpile of emergency supplies: 50 million N95 respirators, 2,400 portable ventilators and kits to set up 21,000 additional patient beds wherever they were needed.

In 2006, citing the threat of avian flu, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the state would invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a powerful set of medical weapons to deploy in the case of large-scale emergencies and natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires and pandemics.

“In light of the pandemic flu risk, it is absolutely a critical investment,” he told a news conference. “I’m not willing to gamble with the people’s safety.”

...Now, it’s here, with California under sweeping shelter-in-place orders as one of the global hotspots of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These supplies were exactly for this scenario,” he said.

Through a spokesperson, Brown, the former governor, declined to be interviewed for this story. Officials in the state Department of Finance declined to comment. Officials with the state Public Health Department declined interviews and provided only brief written answers to some questions, declining to provide a full accounting of the stockpile....