VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, one of the many concerns of healthcare workers is whether or not there will be enough clean surgical and protective masks to be worn while on shift at any given time.
Eagle Ride Hospital won’t have to worry too much about that problem – for the next few weeks anyway – thanks to a donation from one local CEO.
NEWS 1130 spoke with NorthFind Management’s Jonathon Karelse, who, through his many connections, will be donating fifteen thousand masks to the staff at the Port Moody hospital later this week.
That’s enough to keep the staff rolling in masks for about a month, and Karelse, who also serves on the board of the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation, is hoping that a difference can be made for about a month’s time.
“We wish (the number of masks donated) could be larger. We’re doing what we can,” he says.
“I was talking to a doctor at the hospital about what I’m hearing in the news about some of the hospital shortages on the east coast in the States – and I was asking if the situation was going to be same here. [The doctor] told me ‘not yet, but it looks like it’s coming.”
Armed with that info, Karelse went to work, asking a colleague in Shanghai to help take the project on. That colleague was able to land ten thousand surgical masks and five thousand N95 ventilator masks that will arrive at Eagle Ridge on April 2nd.
“The challenge is that we’re in exceptional times now,” Karelse says.
“Even two months ago (15 thousand masks) would’ve been a long period of supplies for the team, but given what’s going on now, it’s really anyone’s guess for how long (the masks) will last.” He added.
“New York thought they had a great supply until they saw a big spike and then things changed. We hope that’s not going to happen here, but you never know.”
Karelse says he’s thankful to have his global supply chain network, but admits it’s going to take a lot of legwork, even as companies have ramped up their own efforts to manufacture and distribute masks on a worldwide scale.