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

CHN, province reach ‘milestone’ tree cutting agreement, reducing annual cut by 13%

Haida Gwaii Management Council has determined new allowable annual cut of 804,000 cubic metres

Outage impacting south island GwaiiComm, Mascon customers

GwaiiTel aware of cable and internet outage; techs dispatched

VIDEO: B.C. artist filmed apocalyptic timelapse on Haida Gwaii

Tasha Lavdovsky footage symbolizes sea level rise; featured in Ora Cogan music video for ‘Sleeping’

‘Haida Modern’ doc on Robert Davidson to stream online in June

Award-winning documentary will premiere on Knowledge Network June 2

Some restaurants on Haida Gwaii hosting dine-in guests again

Queen B’s, Oceanview offering limited seating; barbershop in Queen Charlotte also reopened this week

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

Most Read