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

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bandits super fan celebrates 100th birthday

Abbotsford resident Gladys Sautter surprised by Bandits representatives on big day

Abbotsford Police remind drivers that school speed zones are back in effect

With partial reopening of schools on June 1, drivers cautioned to slow down

FVRD flooding evacuation alerts in effect

Unprotected areas affected include parts of Morris Valley Road and Lougheed Highway

Cyclist in his 50s victim of fatal crash near Hope Thursday

Police have ruled out speed, impairment as factors after a tractor-trailer struck a man in his 50s

Five Menno Place teams recognized for work during pandemic

Abbotsford seniors’ campus of care acknowledges staff efforts

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read