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Thousands of PPE arrive for B.C.'s healthcare workers

Last Updated May 6, 2020 at 6:13 am PDT

FILE - Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Thousands of gowns, goggles, masks have arrived for B.C.'s health care workers

Health minister says PPE needs to be tested before it is used

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — More protective equipment has been brought in for healthcare workers across B.C.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the latest shipment came in Monday with thousands of necessary items.

“530,000 gowns, 100,000 surgical masks, and 29,000 more pairs of goggles. These are big numbers, but remember, we need to test PPE, make sure it’s safe and exceeds our standards and Canadian standards for PPE before it gets into the system,” he says.

“We have a very robust protocol. While we test new and alternative PPE that we’ve received, I’m happy to say we’ve managed to maintain a steady supply of our traditional, familiar products that health care workers can continue to use.”

Dix also commends those who worked to bring in the needed equipment despite challenges.

“I believe the people involved in procuring PPE and working on this question have done an excellent job, in a very challenging and competitive international market, to protect health care workers and that work will continue.”

RELATED: Front line workers asked to reuse masks despite poor PPE quality, lack of supplies: nurses’ union

Meanwhile, the BC Nurses’ Union is claiming its members are being asked to wear reused, or even expired, personal protective equipment, putting its health care workers at risk.

As for whether the province saved any money by cancelling thousands of surgeries and having fairly quiet emergency rooms, Dix says costs have actually gone up.