SAN MATEO – Millions of dollars in surplus personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies purchased by San Mateo County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were damaged by recent storms, the county’s top official said.
County manager Mike Calaghi said in a statement Friday afternoon that the item was moved from the San Mateo Event Center in mid-September to make room for an event.
“The county is solely responsible for our content at the event center,” Calaghi said. “We are deeply sorry that this happened and are hiring an external investigator to identify all facts related to the loss and to make recommendations on how to avoid future incidents.”
The statement came after ABC7 News reported on the status of the event centre.
Calaghi said the county had procured the goods early in the pandemic, when no one knew how long the global supply shortage would last, and jurisdictions across the country began to buy protective equipment to keep first responders and communities safe. was jockeying.
The estimated value of the goods is $70 million. Items include non-medical-grade isolation gowns, face shields, bleach and mop buckets.
“While the storm damaged some of the outer packaging, most of the supplies are individually wrapped,” Calaghi said. “The county is actively inspecting and cleaning up the contents and plans to donate undamaged items to a nonprofit.”
Calaghi said that before the items were taken out, the county worked with the California Office of Emergency Services to offer the items to health care providers and other agencies and states for free, but few accepted the offer.
Callaghi said the item should have been taken back inside the event center after the event was over. Storage space, he said, was not available at other county facilities.
Calaghi said the county maintains separate warehouse facilities to store high-grade personal protective equipment, including masks, in a climate-controlled environment and regularly supplies health care partners.
“We want to assure our community that this incident did not affect the county’s ability to provide safety equipment to first responders and others responding to COVID-19,” he said.