I am posting this in face of the potential (read "likely") shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) that my healthcare organization will face given that we are only at the beginnings of the COVID-19 curve here in Metro Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
In our clinical managers meeting today (March 24th 2020), the company's COVID-19 response team has told participants that if we are able to source for PPE supplies, to buy them (if the amount is small) or place a hold on the supply (and inform Directors/COVID-team to complete the bulk purchase). This includes overseas suppliers!
And thus today, I sent out an email to a supplier of the ST Engineering designed NIOSH standard N95 masks. In the current situation where there is a global shortage, I am not holding high hopes; but still "if we don't ask, we won't get", right? *fingers crossed*
Some side notes:
1. Singapore's response to the COVID-19 challenge has been impressive when seen from Canada where I am. The only areas of improvement I can think of are:
- COVID-19 testing booths akin to the South Korean approach to increase public assess to testing.
- Encourage the population to use washable/reusable fabric face masks when in public spaces, e.g. those commonly seen being worn in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea. This may help to reduce the risk of asymptomatic spread in the community and also build the mindset to reserve the disposable surgical masks for healthcare workers.
- Possibly close schools and/or non-essential services for a period of 14 days to support social distancing and reduce risk of community spread. After all, the June school holiday period can be shortened to cover the short-term loss of school days.
And so, back to PPE for the current COVID-19 situation in Canada. Here's hoping someone, somewhere, with the right connections to some higher authority, sees this message and is able to (re-)direct some supplies our way.
Meanwhile, take care and stay safe, everyone!
[Update on 24-Mar-2020]
If anyone has PPE to donate, please contact SafeCare BC - "Operation Protect". Quote from their website: "SafeCare BC is an industry funded, non-profit association working to ensure injury free, safe working conditions for continuing care workers in BC". Operation Protect is a donation drive to raise PPE given the current COVID-19 challenge, and SafeCare BC will work with BC's Ministry of Health to distribute these supplies to various healthcare sites.