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


1 Comment

  1. David Harrington

    Mr. Boyd:
    I’m with Cal/OSHA Consultation Service in Oakland and I have been doing COVID-19 outreach to skilled nursing facilities regarding staff protections and also fielding calls and emails on our help line and from our email portal. I am being asked about the status of the N-95s from BYD being shipped to the counties and being made available. Can you provide a timeline on this issue?


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