Ontario health-care workers have enough PPE for one more week: Ford
Various provincial manufacturers retooling to produce gear
By Allison Jones
TORONTO — Ontario will run out of personal protective equipment for health-care workers in one week, Premier Doug Ford said Monday, as he and other top officials pressed the United States to ease restrictions on cross-border shipments.
A combination of delays in global shipments and the White House compelling U.S. manufacturers of equipment such as masks to prioritize domestic orders has left Ontario’s supply during the COVID-19 pandemic “strained,” Ford said.
“We’re exhausting every avenue available to us, turning over every single stone, but the hard truth is our supplies in Ontario are getting very low and the more new cases we get, the more demand is placed on our resources,” the premier said.
“How fast this virus spreads is up to all of us,” Ford said, urging people to stay at home except for essential trips such as groceries and medical appointments.
U.S. officials stopped a shipment of N95 masks out of 3M in South Dakota that were bound for Ontario, Ford said. He has been in conversation with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has been pressing Vice-President Mike Pence, he said.
The 500,000 masks should be released Monday, Ford said, but even if and when they arrive in Ontario, that only buys the province another week.
Various Ontario manufacturers are retooling to produce personal protective gear, but those supplies are weeks away from being ready, Ford said. Ontario is “desperately” counting on shipments the province has placed through the federal government’s bulk purchasing program, he said.
Ontario has codes for all of the types of protective equipment such as masks, surgical gowns and face shields, Ford said.
“Right now, they’re all red,” he said.
Bruce Power donated 600,000 items
On April 1, Ontario power provider donated 600,000 pieces of PPE to the provincial government to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bruce Power, Canada’s only private nuclear generator, said the donation of gloves, masks and gowns is intended for health-care workers across the province.
Bruce Power chief executive Mike Rencheck announced the donation directly to Premier Doug Ford on an Owen Sound radio station.