Collaboration with local officials nets N95 masks for Seton Medical Center

NewsApril 24, 2020

The strong collaboration between caregivers at Seton Medical Center and local and state officials helped avoid a dire shortfall of personal protective equipment this month at Seton Medical Center in Daly City.

Responding to the concerns of caregivers that the hospital had inadequate supplies of N-95 masks to cope with an expected surge of COVID-19 patients, San Mateo County secured an emergency expenditure to purchase 15,680 N-95 masks as well as 1,200 goggles. The equipment arrived on April 2.

While the hospital still must be conservative with its supply given the overall shortage of N-95 masks, the shipment was expected to provide more than a month’s supply of N-95 masks for Seton, which was leased by the State of California in March to provide care to COVID-19 patients.

“Workers at Seton are ready to meet the immense challenge of being on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents more than 600 Seton employees. “More supplies are still necessary to implement the best safety protocols at Seton, but this shipment is a testament to what can be accomplished when caregivers and government officials work together for the public good.”

Workers and community leaders rallied to save Seton in March, securing up to $20 million from San Mateo County. Gov. Newsom then stepped in, announcing that the state would temporarily lease the 357-bed hospital to ensure it has sufficient capacity to care for patients who have contracted COVID-19. Seton’s owner, Verity Health, filed for bankruptcy in 2018.

“We are fortunate to have tremendous leaders including Gov. Newsom, State Sen. Scott Wiener, Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and San Mateo Supervisor David Canepa,” Rosselli said. “They have been committed to keeping the hospital open and making sure that caregivers have adequate supplies of protective equipment to care for patients during the pandemic.”