No drastic shortage of medical equipment… yet, source tells Barrie 360

Added pressure on health care could lead to shortage of supplies, beds

A source within Simcoe County’s healthcare team says doctors and admin staff are working with an adequate supply of face masks for now. That could change.

“I don’t think we’re in a horrible situation yet,” the source told Barrie 360, adding medical staff change masks after seeing every patient, while administration staff are limited to one mask a day as they move about the hospital unless it becomes soiled.

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The source says there’s adequate supply to maintain this level of protection so long as demand doesn’t mount. “If we have to keep going through them at this rate, it’s going to cause issues.”

Related: Simcoe County, Muskoka Region join Health Unit in making big push for medical equipment donations

“Fortunately we’re not in that situation here,” said the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner, “There is a risk of running out of masks and gloves and such, and that risk would go up greatly if you had a surge in cases.”

“Hospitals simply running out of beds, or running out of intensive care unit beds, or running out of ventilators that are required to sustain life for the most severe cases. That kind of thing has happened in Italy, and it’s happening in New York City Right now,” Dr. Gardner added “but we haven’t had that kind of impact yet.”

To prevent a future shortage of supplies, local governments and the health unit have banded together to make a big push for private donations of equipment. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has paired with the County of Simcoe and District of Muskoka to help keep a steady stream of medical supplies flowing to area hospitals.

Related: Innisfil IdeaLab contributing to massive push for 3D printed face masks dubbed “the Canadian Shield”

They’re not the only ones. Private companies have stepped up and retooled to begin producing these much-needed supplies. Libraries have put their 3D printers to use in manufacturing parts for face shields.