Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Though San Benito County received over 13,000 medical masks from the state to use during the COVID-19 outbreak, employees are reporting that some of them are defective.

“When we distributed them, most of the backs snapped off because they had been in their storage so long,” said Kris Mangano, manager of the San Benito County Office of Emergency Services (OES).

Mangano gave an update on equipment purchases at the April 7 Board of Supervisors meeting. The county established a $1 million emergency fund for the pandemic on March 16 in a joint meeting with the cities of San Juan Bautista and Hollister, the San Benito County Office of Education and Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital.

Budget Officer Stewart Patri said the county as of April 7 has spent about $415,000, which includes outstanding purchase orders. The county will submit documentation of all costs related to COVID-19 to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for possible reimbursement. 

The following is a breakdown of county supplies both purchased from the private sector and requested from the state. Mangano said the supplies are distributed based on department need and priority.

Hand sanitizer

The county received 504 individual-sized bottles and 60 1-gallon-sized bottles from the state. The county also purchased 1,200 individual-sized bottles that arrived April 3. As of April 7, the county distributed 479 individual-sized and 24 1-gallon-sized bottles of those supplies received. 


San Benito County received 13,200 masks from the state and purchased an additional 10,000 that were expected to arrive April 7. Mangano said OES planned to distribute the masks the same day of their arrival. 

Disinfecting wipes

Mangano said the county requested 1,000 containers from the state and expects to receive them in about four weeks. In short supply of the wipes, the county purchased 20 gallons of disinfectant concentrate from Lowes on April 6 and distributed it the next day. 

Thanks to the Community Foundation for San Benito County’s connections that led to a chairman of Clorox, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital received 10 cases of Clorox on April 7.


The county received 250 gowns, which have been distributed.

Shoe covers

The county placed an order and will distribute shoe covers on arrival. As the county waits for the order, the Community Foundation for San Benito County collected about 250 shoe covers from real estate companies in four days. They were distributed to first responders.


The county received 25 and now has 120 on hand.

Face shields

One-thousand face shields were expected on April 8.  


The county received three of the 20 requested ventilators on loan from the state for Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Additionally, the county purchased four more which were expected to be received on April 7.

Nasal Swabs

San Benito County Public Information Officer David Westrick said the county requested 1,000 nasal swabs but has not received them as of April 8.


Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor’s in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts...