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California is on its way to becoming the first state to require health care facilities to stockpile 45 days' worth of personal protective equipment to protect health care workers and patients from coronavirus.
California's state legislature passed SB 275, which requires hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, dialysis clinics and other health care facilities to maintain PPE stockpiles, on Monday night. The legislation is supported by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, a hospital workers' union with approximately 97,000 members.
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"This legislation will make sure we will never be caught off-guard again when a pandemic or other health emergency hits our state," Jessica Rodriguez, an emergency department technician at Kaiser Oakland, said in a statement shared by SEIU-UHW. "Too many healthcare and other essential workers have gotten sick and needlessly died because we did not have the supplies of PPE we desperately needed to treat COVID-19 patients. Many lives will be saved because of this new law."
In this Aug. 13, 2020, file photo, nurse practitioner Debbi Hinderliter collects a sample from a woman at a coronavirus testing site near the nation’s busiest pedestrian border crossing in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
SB 275 would require the stockpiles to be created by Jan. 1, 2023, and health care providers could be on the hook for fines up to $25,000 if they're found to be in violation. SB 275 would also require California to maintain a 90-day supply of PPE for health care and other essential workers.
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The bill is sponsored by two Democrats, state Sens. Richard Pan and Connie Leyva.
Fox News' inquiry to Gov. Gavin Newsom about whether he will sign SB 275 was not returned at the time of publication.