PHOTOS: Gov. Newsom, SJ Mayor Liccardo Tour Sunnyvale Fuel Cell Factory Turned Ventilator Refurbishing Site

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San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo speaks during a press conference at the Bloom Energy Sunnyvale campus on March 28, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Gov. Gavin Newsom, joined by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, visited Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale on Saturday — one of many California companies answering the call to produce equipment for hospitals amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Normally a fuel cell manufacturer, Bloom Energy received a call from Newsom's office on March 17, asking if they could quickly learn how to refurbish old, broken ventilators.

In just over a week, the company has repaired and shipped hundreds of ventilators to agencies and hospitals throughout the state.

At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, there were roughly 7,500 ventilators in all of California's hospitals combined. Newsom said the state set a goal of making 10,000 more ventilators available and has already reached the halfway mark.

"So everybody look in your basement, look in that old garage. If you've got old equipment and you want to send it, send it our way and we'll send it right here to this facility," Newsom said.


Other companies, including the Gap and Anheuser-Busch, are making masks, gowns and hand sanitizer.

Staff work in a ventilator refurbishing assembly line at Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, California, on March 28, 2020. Bloom Energy is a fuel cell generator company that has switched over to refurbishing ventilators as an increasing number of patients experience respiratory issues because of COVID-19. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Michael Barone, a mechanical tech, replaces inner batteries at Bloom Energy. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Bloom Energy employees work at a lung-testing station for ventilators. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Josh Baime of Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale runs battery diagnostics on ventilators that arrived from Los Angeles. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference at the Bloom Energy Sunnyvale campus on March 28, 2020. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Bloom Energy CEO KR Sridhar applauds his employees. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)