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Grey County frontline workers expect to see personal protective equipment shortage

Businesses and residents are being asked to forfeit COVID-19 protection essentials for frontline workers
2020_03_23 PPE face mask_JG
Grey County is asking all residents and businesses to donate any N95 masks, gloves, gowns, surgical masks or disinfectant. Stock photo.

Grey County is calling for all personal protective equipment (PPE) to be re-allocated to frontline workers.

“PPE supplies are a concern to the healthcare industry locally and across the country. We are managing our own supplies carefully, but we know supply lines are limited,” says Rob Hatten, communications manager for Grey County. 

Hatten says Grey County paramedics are handling the COVID-19 well and PPE-related precautions have been in place for quite some time.

“Every call we respond to is pre-screened by our dispatch so we know ahead of time if our patient has symptoms of COVID-19. In addition, all of our paramedics are equipped with PPEs to keep them safe when responding to all calls,” Hatten says.

Although the county says it is maintaining its current supply of PPEs, a callout was made to the community over the weekend via social media to donate any COVID-19 essentials.

“We need to keep our frontline staff and healthcare workers safe, so we’ve made a call out to the local business community, such as dentist offices, auto shops, vet clinics, construction for supplies,” Hatten adds.

The county is specifically looking to collect the following supplies:

  • Any N95 masks, specifically model number: 3M18710, 3M9210 or 3MVFlex

  • Nitrile gloves

  • Disposable impermeable gowns

  • General surgical masks

  • Hand sanitizer and disinfectant with a DIN#

The county’s call for help came shortly before the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) and the Registered Nurses of Ontario made a province-wide plea to make PPEs for frontline workers an urgent priority on Sunday.

“We fear that a mask shortage is imminent,” said Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO's CEO in a news release. “This is a serious and dire situation for our frontline workers. We must take every action possible to avoid, or at best, delay such an eventuality."

Along with calling for all essential supplies to be donated to frontline operations, the OMA is also calling for large quantities of expired masks to be released and distributed to lower risk areas; for all commercial sale of these products to be prohibited at this time; and for existing private stock to be repossessed for use by frontline healthcare workers.

“We must be prepared for a shortage of masks," said Dr. Sohail Gandhi, OMA president. "Healthcare workers are at high risk of exposure to the virus. Protection for themselves and the patients they care for is vitally important in the battle against this virus."

If you are able to donate any of the necessary items to Grey County, please email [email protected]. Grey County staff will be arranging pick up of the supplies, which will be managed and distributed to area hospitals, long-term care homes, police, fire and paramedic services as needed.

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Jennifer Golletz

About the Author: Jennifer Golletz

Jennifer Golletz covers civic matters under the Local Journalism Initative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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