Interior Health confirms hospitals dealing with thefts of masks, hand sanitizer, and more | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Interior Health confirms hospitals dealing with thefts of masks, hand sanitizer, and more

March 24, 2020 - 11:23 AM

Healthcare facilities across the Interior have seen a spate of thefts of critical supplies from its hospitals.

Interior Health confirmed with that they are dealing with multiple reports of personal protection equipment and supplies being stolen from hospitals. Interior Health said in most cases hand sanitizers, bottles and masks are stolen.

Interior Health would not confirm how many thefts had taken place, or give locations of where the thefts took place.

While Interior Health is keeping quiet on details of the thefts, a Nelson physiotherapist recently claimed personal protective equipment had gone missing from the Kootenay Lake Hospital. A video he posted on Facebook making the claim has since been taken down.

We've also heard of theft at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, March 18, where personal protective equipment was stolen but we cannot confirm and remains at this point, a rumour. Again, Interior Health wouldn't confirm details.

"While we understand people are frightened, all of these items are essential for health facilities to keep patients and families safe and our health-care workers in good health to provide essential care," Interior Health spokesperson Susan Duncan said in an email.

Duncan said Interior Health’s Protection Services team was dealing with "multiple reports" of supplies being stolen from hospitals but did not say what measures were being taken to combat the thefts or whether they had been reported to the RCMP. Interior Health didn't answer when asked the quantities of protection equipment is being stolen or whether stolen items had been stored in a secured area.

The thefts come as health care workers throughout the region make appeals for critical supplies, asking everyone from dentists to drywallers for masks and other protective equipment. Lake Country's assisted living facility, the Blue Heron Villa, made a public appeal on Facebook, asking the community for masks, gowns, face shields and sanitizers.

READ MORE: Call for COVID-19 protective equipment spurs college, distiller, TV show to help

READ MORE: Health officials sound alarm over looming shortage of protective gear

READ MORE: Health Canada acts to boost supply of hand sanitizer, disinfectants, swabs, masks

This story was updated 11:35 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, 2020. An earlier version of this story said Vernon General Hospital.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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