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Canada Ontario hospital staff told to ration masks as COVID-19 spreads

12:50  26 march  2020
12:50  26 march  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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WATCH ABOVE: Ontario hospitals are attempting to stretch out dwindling supplies of personal protective equipment like masks and face shields. Saskatchewan nurses union says it’s not getting proper protective gear to address COVID - 19 . At Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital , staff are being

WATCH: How hospitals are preparing for COVID - 19 surge. comments Leave a comment. facebook Share this item. Doctors and nurses pleaded for supplies such as masks and ventilators that are critical in their battle to treat a surging number of coronavirus patients, while governments on Tuesday

Ryan Smith poses at Sunnybrook Hospital Ryan Smith poses at Sunnybrook Hospital

Major Toronto hospitals are rationing surgical masks amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, and in some cases, even urging nurses and other front-line staff to use just one mask for an entire shift, according to memos obtained by CBC News.

Provincial officials have said there are enough supplies in Ontario for health-care workers, and that more masks have been ordered and are on the way. But some front-line workers in the Greater Toronto Area say they feel their safety is increasingly at risk.

"They're treating us like we're disposable," said a veteran nurse from Markham Stouffville Hospital, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation from hospital management.

The latest numbers of COVID-19 cases in Canada as of March 20, 2020

  The latest numbers of COVID-19 cases in Canada as of March 20, 2020 The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 11:32 a.m. ET on March 20, 2020: There are 923 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada. _ Ontario: 308 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 5 resolved) _ British Columbia: 271 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 5 resolved) _ Alberta: 146 confirmed (including 1 death) _ Quebec: 121 confirmed (including 1 death) _ Saskatchewan: 8 confirmed, 12 presumptive _ Manitoba: 9There are 923 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

Ontario 's backlog of COVID - 19 tests stands at 10,489 as of Wednesday morning. "The evidence of asymptomatic infection of COVID - 19 necessitates that all health-care workers facing patients, residents and clients wear a Her office remains operational and her staff are working from home, Khera added.

The State’s private hospitals will initially not be used to cater for people suffering from Covid - 19 ; however, it is anticipated that this will change as the pandemic spreads further. Sources in the sector confirmed last night that, in the wake of a landmark deal to open the State’s private hospitals up to

According to a memo sent to staff on Monday that was obtained by CBC News, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto is now issuing a single procedure mask to health-care workers each day. A hospital source told CBC News that a nurse would typically go through five or six of these masks over the course of a 12-hour shift.

"It is important that we conserve procedure masks for the duration of this pandemic, which will go on for some time," the memo reads. It also notes that masks must be discarded and replaced if they become soiled or contaminated.

"The main value of masking, like self-screening, is to keep the environment safe for all," the notice reads.

Sinai Health spokesperson Barbara McCully told CBC News in an email that this move is a "short-term measure" that was put in place this week as the organization transitions to a new policy outlining mask use during the pandemic, which is "currently being finalized and will be released shortly."

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The coronavirus COVID - 19 is affecting 194 countries and territories around the world and 1 as the route of spread and incubation period, provided the vital evidence base for China’s strategy COVID - 19 has infected 2,629 health workers, or 8.3% of the total (more than twice the percentage in

In another memo obtained through a source within Unity Health Toronto, which operates St. Michael's Hospital and St. Joseph's Health Centre, management said that as of Tuesday evening, all staff would only get two masks to wear over the course of their work period.

Unity Health spokesperson Jennifer Stranges told CBC news in an email that as of this time, Unity Health's supply of protective equipment is "sufficient."

"We are being conservative and using personal protective equipment rationally to maintain a safe environment for our patients, residents, staff and physicians," she said.

Anyone who is "patient-facing" is also now required to wear a procedure mask at all times in patient areas and common spaces, the notice reads. It also says that masks should be replaced if soiled or ripped.

"We do have a limited supply of [personal protective equipment]," the memo reads. "Unless we all work together and use [it] appropriately, we will have shortages."

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Doctors and nurses have said they do not have enough protective masks and they are being put at risk while on the frontline. Vice President Mike Pence said that Apple is one of several tech companies based in California that are helping hospitals across the nation deal with a reported shortage of

Citing a desire to help local hospitals prepare for the possibility that COVID - 19 will grow worse in the region, St. Clair College announced on Tuesday that staff have donated 35 hospital beds and eight ventilators, with plans to send over personal protective equipment within the next few days.

'We are in a war'

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly between people through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. N95 respirators are believed to provide increased protection compared to surgical masks.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario has called on the provincial and federal governments to supply front-line health-care workers with more personal protective equipment, including masks, and is warning there's already a shortage at hospitals across the province.

"The evidence of asymptomatic infection of COVID-19 necessitates that all health-care workers facing patients, residents and clients wear a surgical mask at all times," the organization said in a news release on Wednesday.

"We are in a war and the enemy is the COVID-19 virus."

The province has repeatedly said it's working hard to ensure health-care workers have the protection they need. As of Tuesday, the government said it had secured 12 million sets of surgical gloves, a million N95 respirators and nearly six million more surgical masks.

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How does COVID - 19 spread ? People can catch COVID - 19 from others who have the virus. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? COVID - 19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China and some other

Patients with suspected or confirmed COVID - 19 should be asked to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and be evaluated in a private A: Not all patients with COVID - 19 require hospital admission. Patients whose clinical presentation warrants in-patient clinical management for supportive

The provincial government is also looking at deploying a stockpile of some 55 million expired N95 masks that it stockpiled after the SARS crisis in 2003.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Hayley Chazan said that the federal government has also promised to provide Ontario with another 500,000 N95 respirators and one million masks.

"We expect these supplies to be delivered at various times over the coming days and weeks," she said in an email.

'Canaries in the coal mine'

Vicki McKenna, president of the Ontario Nurses Association, said guidelines concerning N95 masks have been loosened by many hospitals.

"I started to get calls from nurses [Tuesday] saying we had N95 masks for those of us working with COVID patients or those we were screening or people who were presumed, but now we don't," she told CBC News.

Markham Stouffville Hospital spokesperson Rebecca MacKenzie said in an email to CBC News that there are a "limited number of N95 masks available globally.

"Using N95 masks in settings where they are not necessary could create a supply shortage that would put staff and physicians involved in aerosol generating procedures on COVID-19 patients at great risk," she said.

But McKenna says care facilities should listen more closely to nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle.

"They are the canaries in the coal mine," she said.

Richmond man busted for selling black-market masks during COVID-19 crisis .
The 22-year-old Richmond man was given a $1,000 ticket for running a business without a licence. He told Global News he ordered the masks before rules outlawing the sale of medical supplies came into effect, and that he intended to distribute the masks at cost to his Facebook friends. READ MORE: Coronavirus: B.C. couple donates $1K following meat-hoarding backlash, death threats Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has called black market sales that capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis "absolutely unacceptable.

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