Hospitals across Toronto are calling out to the city’s physicians to donate personal protection equipment (PPE) to help healthcare professionals on the front lines stay protected from COVID-19.
As the numbers climbed to 220 cases yesterday, hospitals worry that the same PPE shortages that are happening in other countries will soon affect Toronto.
“I don’t think there are any hospitals that have immediate PPE shortages today, but I think all of us are facing a situation with rapidly escalating pressures and utilization of PPE that we need to urgently prepare for,” said Dr. Joshua Tepper, president and CEO of North York General Hospital (NYGH)
The PPE drive run by Michael Garron Hospital is the first of the city’s healthcare facilities to vocalize concerns, but Dr. Tepper believes everyone will soon be at risk.
“We have watched what happened in other countries including the ones right to the south of us — which we think of a highly resourced country, and the shortages they’re facing. So we’re all trying to collectively learn from the experience of others and this is a key area.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has only been one death in Toronto, but our case numbers continue to climb every day. At-risk hospitals are calling on the industry and dentists, vets, plastic surgeons, gynecologists and other healthcare specialists to provide whatever unopened PPE they have available at this time.
The PPE in highest demand are N-95 masks, ear-loop masks, gowns, vented goggles and protective gloves.
“As of today we’re going to be asking every individual who works in the hospital to wear a mask throughout their entire workday,” said Dr. Tepper, meaning that the daily use of PPE will rapidly increase from here on out.
Hospitals like North York General will start accepting donations today to ensure that they don’t fall into the same patterns of some U.S. hospitals.
“We don’t think we’re months away from needing, you know being in a really serious situation, we think this is a matter of days to a couple weeks,” said Dr. Tepper.
Other than unopened PPE, North York General will also be accepting hand sanitizer from physicians or people with access to a surplus of healthcare supplies who are looking to make donations.
As NYGH and other hospitals around Toronto push into another week battling against COVID-19, Tepper commends his team for working as diligently as possible.
“This is a real and present danger now, but people have responded to it with professionalism, a calmness and a real sense of being a team. There’s a lot we don’t know about the days ahead, but to be able to start from a position where people are coming together, taking pride in their work and pride in their position, it’s just the best starting point we can be in”
In a time of such uncertainty, Dr. Tepper urges more people to take COVID-19 seriously and do their part to flatten the curve.
“The most important thing we need people to do is aggressively socially distance. You know this is not a matter of having just a few people over for a cup of tea, this is a matter of just not getting together.”
North York General will be accepting PPE donations starting Tues., Mar. 24 at 4000 Leslie St. across the street from NYGH.