Governor Newsom Announces Federal Health and Safety Certification of Life-Saving N95 Masks 

BYD North America will begin shipping 150 million N95 masks to the state in the coming days for distribution to front-line workers

N95 masks come in addition to the 110 million surgical masks from BYD that California has already distributed to help sectors reopen safely

SACRAMENTO – Following through on California’s commitment to create a stable, reliable pipeline of life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) coming into our state, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that California-based BYD North America has received certification from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to produce N95 respirators for the state.

“Providing California’s front-line health care workers and responders the protective equipment they need is a critical part of our response to COVID-19. This new supply of N95 masks, as well as the surgical masks this contract has already provided, are game-changing and play a crucial role in our state’s public safety and reopening strategy,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.

With the certification now in hand, as outlined in the contract, BYD will produce and ship 150 million N95 masks to the state for distribution to health care workers and those identified by health officials as requiring respirator-style masks. The first shipment of N95 masks produced as part of this contract are expected to arrive in the coming days. The contract will ensure that the state has a sufficient supply of masks going forward should there be need for them in the future.

Cal OES had made NIOSH certification of N95 masks an explicit requirement of the contract with BYD so that California’s doctors, nurses and other front-line workers can be confident that the N95 masks they receive from the state are of the highest quality and meet federal health and safety standards.

Today’s announcement comes just days after Cal OES amended its contract with BYD North America to allow the company with manufacturing capacity overseas until June 12 to complete its certification process for N95 masks from NIOSH.

Background on BYD masks

The state’s contract with BYD is part of a wider effort by the administration to prioritize the procurement and dispersal of critical personal protective equipment and other emergency assets and commodities acquired through all sources during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect public health and safety.

To date, the state’s agreement with BYD has yielded more than 110 million surgical masks with more coming in nearly every day. The state has distributed BYD surgical masks to aid workers across the following sectors of the economy:

Distribution of BYD Surgical Masks by Sector:

Public Health (Local Government)        8,696,000

Agriculture                                         6,168,000

Social Services                                   74,000

Communications Infrastructure            6,000

Construction and Trade                       232,000

Education                                          2,578,000

Public Works and Utilities                    228,000

Hotels and Lodging                             402,000

Transportation (Transit, Ports)              514,000

Retail                                                 3,238,000

Businesses/Office Workspaces              320,000

Non-emergency Medical                       3,516,000