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

Revelstoke, North Okanagan RCMP team up to nab Alberta man, stolen BMW

Helicopter, dogs used in North Okanagan highway arrest

Salmon Arm West bridge construction expected to begin in fall 2020

Budget for Highway 1 project up $20 million over intial 2016 estimate

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

Refugee family assists former hosts in effort to stop rising water of Shuswap Lake

Alahmad family spend morning filling sandbags to help protect residences

Morning Start: Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin

Your morning start for Thursday, June 4, 2020

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Kamloops holds Black Lives Matter rally despite cancellation of protest

Organizers announced cancellation of the event after receiving criticism on social media

Undisclosed video evidence comes to light in West Kelowna murder trial

‘They’ve disclosed hundreds of pieces of evidence. Why would this have gotten missed?’ - defence lawyer

Vernon Walmart staffer finds $7K lost by Enderby business owner

Entrepreneur elated after Walmart worker, who lost his own business to COVID, returned lost deposit

Summerland council to continue online meetings

Virtual meetings remain to comply with COVID-19 restrictions

Penticton RCMP arrest man found ‘unlawfully in home’

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them

Summerland not considering allowing alcohol in public spaces

Penticton and North Vancouver have both passed bylaws to relax alcohol consumption rules

Most Read