B.C. hospitals to collect and sterilize disposable masks for possible re-use - InfoNews

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B.C. hospitals to collect and sterilize disposable masks for possible re-use

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March 31, 2020 - 1:18 PM

Healthcare facilities across B.C. have begun collecting disposable masks in an effort to have an emergency supply if needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The masks will be sterilized and then stored to be used as an emergency backup supply.

"In order to assess all opportunities to preserve critical (personal protective equipment) supply levels, Interior Health’s largest acute care sites will begin the collection of used disposable N95 masks," a statement from Interior Health reads.

"The use of (personal protective equipment), which includes all types of masks, is being reviewed at a provincial level to ensure we have adequate stock to ensure our staff is safe through the duration of this pandemic," the statement reads.

COVID-19 has put an unprecedented demand on personal protective equipment supplies in recent weeks and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced March 25, the usage rate of personal protective equipment was much higher than was expected.

Henry described the situation as in a "critical phase."

Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced yesterday, March 30, that the province had just received a delivery of one million surgical masks.

The statement from Interior Health says the province has secured "millions of pieces of (personal protective equipment)" for its supply chain, and a special team had been set up to manage personal protective equipment and the "outpouring of offers of support from suppliers and manufacturers both locally and globally."

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