coronavirus

Family-Owned Medical Supply Business Scrambles to Meet Demands of Coronavirus Pandemic

When they're not restocking shelves at the Long Beach business, they're taking phone calls for more much-needed items like gloves, sanitizers and masks

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Phones seem to never stop ringing these days at a small family-owned medical supply business in Long Beach.

The buzz of early morning activity at Mozena Medical Supplies & Equipment illustrates how urgent demand is for items like masks, gloves, sanitizers and other health safety products during the coronavirus pandemic. Not long after supplies arrive, they’re out the door — already spoken for by buyers who need everything they can get to battle the fast-moving virus.

“Hospitals are calling for masks, sanitizers, wipes, gloves, even these bunny suits,” said president Steve Mozena, holding up a package containing the familiar full body suit that guards against infection. 

Mozena and wife Lucille were restocking items and filling orders at the store well before dawn Wednesday. She also was making protective masks, sewing them together before grabbing another stack of boxes filled with much-needed supplies or answering a phone call. 

They’re usually working the phones by night, taking calls from vendors located here and around the world. By day, they’re making deliveries.

The supply of N-95 masks at the business was already spoken for early Wednesday. Another shipment of 500 was expected Friday.

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Mozena’s father, an immigrant from Italy, started the business in the 1950s.  The company’s website features vintage photos of the family and the business’ early days. 

“He’d be saddened by it, but he would have done what he could to help people,” Mozena said.

Anticipating more hospitalizations and deaths, California and local governments have been scrambling to obtain gloves and safety gear for healthcare workers and ramping up the number of available hospital beds for virus patients. This week, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship is expected to arrive in the Port of Los Angeles to provide relief by treating non-COVID-19 patients.

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