Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday that a shipment of 100,000 N95 surgical masks had been received and is ready to distribute to hospitals and first responders.

The first shipment comes after an April 28 agreement with Honeywell Safety to purchase a total of 24 million N95 masks at $.79 each, plus tax.

As hospitals and first responders continued to battle COVID-19, the supply of masks had shrunk to the point where medical personnel were forced to wear one mask per day. The masks are typically meant to be for one-time use, but the short supply forced drastic measures. 

The mayor added that the masks were even harder to acquire as the prices got higher and could be found selling online for upward of $30 each.

“These first responders, we knew needed N95 masks and they deserve to be protected,” Garcetti said. “It’s not a luxury, it’s a right.”

The first 90,000 masks will be available for hospitals, at cost, while the remaining 10,000 will be distributed to first responders. 

A shipment of 200,000 masks is expected for June, while an additional 500,000 are expected to be available in July. By December, Garcetti expects shipments of 1.2 million masks to be made monthly.

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