Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Gowns, masks and gloves are being used rapidly in the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Canadian Press)

B.C. prepares to use donated, ‘alternative’ COVID-19 protective gear

Rigorous testing done first, Health Minister Adrian Dix says

With international supplies of medical protective equipment in huge demand world-wide in the coronavirus pandemic, the B.C. health ministry is preparing to introduce stocks of donated and unconventional supplies for health care workers.

“I need to be clear that we’re approaching that point where we’ll need to introduce alternative PPE (personal protective equipment),” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in his daily COVID-19 update April 20. “Like other jurisdictions, we’re struggling to replace our traditional products in the context of all this global demand. But safe and effective alternatives exist. Use of alternative and equivalent PPE are on the horizon, likely within the next week.”

Dix emphasized that donated or alternative-sourced equipment is first checked against specifications of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Standards, a U.S. standard also used in Canada, and sent for lab testing if if there is any question about filtration or fluid resistance for masks, gowns and other equipment.

“We manually inspect the product for tears and irregularities,” Dix said. “For N-95 respirators, we test the seal and fit of the mask. In addition to that due diligence, we are committed to engaging with unions and stakeholders and health care workers before any alternative product is introduced into the system.”

RELATED: B.C. sorting medical equipment offers for COVID-19

RELATED: B.C. aerospace company manufacturing face shields

Conventional supplies have continued to arrive, including an Easter weekend shipment of more than 100,000 N-95 respirators, 51,000 face shields and 1.2 million gloves. The Alberta government also announced April 11 it was sharing its stockpile of goggles, masks, gowns and gloves with B.C., Ontario and Quebec, along with ventilators that assist people in intensive care with breathing failure.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

Phase-by-phase look at how Greater Victoria Public Libraries will reopen

GVPL to quarantine returned material for a minimum of 72 hours before lending again

Cancelled cruise ships costs Victoria more than $130 million

Transport Canada bans ships until end of October in response to COVID-19

New grocery store coming to Oak Bay Junction

Urban Grocer set to bring up to 40 new jobs

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Most Read