Ontario has enough health-care protective gear for 1 more week: Ford

Clay Curtis
April 7, 2020

Premier Doug Ford said this morning Ontario has about a week's supply of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) in its stockpile after the USA blocked a shipment of three million masks to the province yesterda.

Ford said he has personally engaged with top-ranking USA officials to argue that Canada should be exempt from the presidential order preventing PPE from being shipped to Canada.

Doug Ford told Global News the incident had happened over the weekend and described it as "absolutely unacceptable".

Ford says he is a "trust but verify" type of person and until he physically sees the masks in Ontario, he will not be sure.

In a one-on-one interview with CityNews Monday morning, Ford warned that if the shipment didn't go through, Ontario's frontline health care workers would run out of masks within a week.

"In the meantime, we are desperately counting on the fulfillment of shipments that Ontario has placed through the federal government's bulk purchasing program", the Premier's office said.

Ford says the province has ordered nearly 4-million masks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said his government is speaking with USA officials to emphasize health-care supplies are "very much a two-way street". "And now we have an enemy and we're at war and they want to shut things down with their closest ally in the world?"

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US President Donald Trump has asked manufacturing firm 3M Co to pause the exports of domestically produced respirator masks to Canada and some Latin American countries.

"We are working very closely with all provinces and monitoring the levels of personal protective equipment and the challenges they're facing", Trudeau said.

Help is on the way for Ontario's beleaguered health-care workers anxious about the supply of vital face masks.

"It is really a wild west when it comes to buying medical supplies right now", Freeland said, describing the procurement process for medical as a "fierce competition".

"Delays in global shipments and recent restrictions at the USA border have severely strained Ontario's inventory and left the province with roughly a one-week supply of critical PPE".

Ford and provincial health professionals shared modelling on Friday of how hard the coronavirus could hit Ontarians over the next two years.

In Canada, there are 15,496 confirmed cases and 280 deaths so far.

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