Testing for coronavirus requires a special swab that reaches deeply into the nasal passage. (University of California Davis)

Testing for coronavirus requires a special swab that reaches deeply into the nasal passage. (University of California Davis)

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. has received many offers for sale or donation of medical equipment for managing the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and the equipment is proving useful, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

The province has set up a COVID-19 supply hub, with priority products including face masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, isolation and surgical gowns, nitrile and vinyl gloves and viral swabs.

“And we’ve had amazing businesses step up across Canada and here in B.C. to support this,” Henry said at her daily briefing on the pandemic April 8. “So far the testing that we’ve done has not revealed any concerns that I’m aware of, but there’s more to be done yet. Some of the supplies that recently came in are still undergoing the process.”

RELATED: Canada, U.S. reach deal for N95 masks from 3M

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In the April 6 briefing from the B.C. legislature, Henry said she and Health Minister Adrian Dix have been “inundated” with offers of equipment, and some have been weeded out as unsuitable. Dix said the federal government has provided some supplies and the province has been ordering from new suppliers as global competition has become intense for the products.

“We have to keep working on that, and we’re hopeful that if we can get through these next couple of weeks, which are important weeks, that that supply, the world supply, will become better for us,” Dix said. “And certainly we have optimistic signs from Ottawa that there’s supply coming from there as well. Our efforts had some success recently, as have Ottawa’s, and we’re hoping for more.”

Dix and Henry have avoided making predictions about the days of supply of vital equipment, or the potential future COVID-19 cases and deaths. Projections of cases from Alberta and other provinces have produced a wide range of potential outcomes, such as between 500 and 6,600 people who may die in Alberta by the time the pandemic runs its course.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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