L-R Tony Royster, General Manager of L.A. General Services and Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo Courtesy of the city mayor’s office.

Los Angeles frontline responders need protection, medical supplies such as masks and gloves are in high demand during this viral pandemic. With COVID-19 transmission being airborne, masks have become a necessity in daily life outside. Thursday, May 28, marks the preliminary shipment of N95 masks from the 24-million inventory deal with Honeywell. Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti commemorated the day by speaking at the allocation center where the masks are housed. Since the demand for emergency provision is high, the price tends to reach unreasonable amounts, however the Honeywell deal has allowed hospitals to buy at cost which 79 cents plus tax per mask.

April 28 is when the transaction was first announced, 24-million masks were bought for 20.5 million dollars. The company Honeywell made the supply here in California, at their Ontario Plant. The N95 mask model filters 95% of airborne particles that could be found harmful in the human body. It’s taken almost a month of development and shipment of the product, different department across L.A. County made collaborative efforts with Honeywell to make this happen.

Under the Logistics Victory L.A. initiative (LovLA), hospitals can purchase these masks at cost for their facilities. The mission found on the LovLa.org website states, “Through supply chain optimization, city purchasing, and generous donations, Logistics Victory LA facilitates a clear path for medical service providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis to access critical supplies, such as isolation gowns, gloves, N95 respirators, face shields, thermometers and other medical essentials.” The partnership with the Honeywell company is marking one of its first acts responding to the supply shortage during the COVID-19 outbreak. Hospitals can go to the website and register for supplies.

Tony Royster, General Manager of Los Angeles General Services, oversees the warehouse where the N95 masks are located. (file photo)

Leaders within the LovLa initiative include Mayor Garcetti, Executive Director Gene Seroka, and the General Manager of the city’s General Service Tony Royster who oversees the warehouse that holds the masks supply. 100,000 N95 models will be available for distribution this month, and the amount will double the following month. Accessibility to these masks will continue to increase, reaching over one million for distribution by December.

According to the L.A. County Health Service COVID-19 Dashboard, from May 18 to May 24, medical facilities countywide had zero personal protective equipment (PPE such as N95 masks, face shields, and gloves coming through the emergency management system pipeline. In addition to what is available on hand, there were only enough N95 model masks to last 9-29 days at most. With Medical beds and supplies fluctuating, the shipment of N95 masks are arriving in a time of severe need. The city economy is moving towards recovery, the spread of the virus is anticipated to fluctuate, which would require more physical contact with medical personnel.

Within this first shipment, 10,000 masks will be kept for city firefighter personnel. The rest of the 90,000 in inventory will be sold to hospital at cost, charging 79 cents plus tax for each mask. Garcetti stated,” N95 Masks, are very special and important.” He continued, “There for medical personnel and for first responders, who are putting their lives on the line for all of us.” The mayor explained that Angelenos should all be wearing some sort of face covering; a bandanna or homemade mask made from breathable material. Executive Director Gene Seroka stated, “This first shipment is significant, the milestone we hit is a great credit.” Different supplies are in the works, Executive Director Seroka stressed the need for Isolation gowns, hair nets, and other medical supplies that the city is working on to get for the frontlines. The N95 masks will be a part of frontline armor as they defend themselves against a deadly virus.