State unloads tens of thousands of respirators on long-term care providers

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Skilled nursing facilities in California will receive tens of thousands of N95 respirators, officials said Friday.

Each skilled nursing facility in the state is eligible to receive three free cases of N95 respirators, for a total of 360 masks, under an agreement reached by the California Department of Public Health/Emergency Preparedness Office, the California Association of Health Facilities and Medline Industries. The groups formed the agreement to promote emergency preparedness and consolidate warehouse space.

Facilities must agree to properly store the materials, not to sell or donate them, and to use the respirators only during a public health emergency. Each case of respirators has an approximate value of $180 dollars. 

The respirators are often used to combat viruses like H1N1 influenza.

Medline is distributing the respirators for free. Deliveries are expected to begin this summer.