Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided an update Tuesday on the shortage of personal protective equipment, dealing with the White House, and how Canadian-made solutions are progressing.
To date, almost 5,000 Canadian companies have stepped forward to help fight Covid-19. Trudeau talked about the importance of creating a stable supply of the products…”and that means making them at home.”
Canadian companies step-up to combat PPE shortages
Trudeau says the Federal government is teaming up with several Canadian medical companies to produce 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators. “We certainly hope we don’t need to use all of those ventilators. And even if we don’t need it, there may be other countries that do,” said Trudeau.
Asked about number of ventilators right now in Canada, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam repeated that it is very much based on local dynamics. Tam says Ottawa has provided ventilators and is acquiring more.
One of those Canadian companies is Thornhill Medical
Trudeau also says the federal government has ordered millions of surgical masks, as well as sanitizers. He says it’s all in addition to the made-in-Canada solutions forthcoming. “We are moving forward to increase our capacity to produce them here,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau said 20 companies, including Canada Goose and Arc’teryx, are getting prepared to produce medical gowns.
The Prime Minister also said the government teamed up Nobel Prize-winning researcher Art McDonald. McDonald is leading a team of scientists at national laboratories TRIUMF, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, and SNOLAB to develop an easy-to-produce ventilator using off-the-shelf, easily accessible parts. Trudeau says the goal is to develop a ventilator model that can be constructed quickly and reliably in Canada.
3M, White House reach deal on Canadian-bound mask shipments
Facing mounting pressure from Ontario Premier Doug Ford and other Canadian officials, the White House and 3M struck a deal to keep N95 respirator shipments flowing north. Tuesday, Trudeau announced a shipment of 500k N95 masks from 3M would arrive on Wednesday. “It’s crucial the U.S. understands it’s in both of our interests to keep the free flow of goods and equipment across our borders,” said Trudeau.
Canada will get 2.3 million N95 masks by the end of the week
Procurement minister Anita Anand says Canada received 8 million surgical masks from China on Monday with additional supply orders from China arriving soon. Anand says the Federal Government is working with all provinces and territories to offer space on its cargo charters to bring back provincial orders. Anand says there are currently over 230 million surgical masks “sourced” so far. They [Fed gov’t] have delivered over 60 million so far. Anand says Canada will get 2.3 million N95 masks by the end of the week.
On Monday, Trudeau called out the U.S. “We have recognized over the past weeks a number of situations in which shipments coming from different countries around the world have been delayed, or haven’t arrived with as many products as we were hoping to see. “This continues to be an ongoing problem, specifically with the United States.”
Health officials change message on the use of non-medical masks
On Monday Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam advised the public to wear non-medical masks to prevent the spread of the virus in places like grocery stores, where physical distancing can be a challenge. Tam’s opinion is a change from her previous advice to Canadians and comes with increasing evidence that people with the virus can spread it without showing symptoms.
During a media briefing Tuesday, Dr. Tam says there are now 17,063 cases of Covid-19 in Canada, 345 deaths, and 346,000 people have been tested, with five per cent positive testing rate.
700k Canadians applied for CERB
Trudeau also talked about his government’s roll-out of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which officially opened on Monday. Some 700k Canadians have applied for the benefit already. You can apply for the benefit based on birthdate. People with birthdays in April, May and June can apply for the emergency benefits today (Tue). On recalling Parliament, Trudeau says the draft wage subsidy legislation has been passed to opposition and talks continue today about bringing back the House to quickly pass the bill.
3.6M Canadians apply for EI benefits
Treasury Board president Jean-Yves Duclos says the Federal Government received more than 967,000 applications for the emergency benefit, which is the equivalent to 6 months worth of EI applications. Duclos says since March 16th more than 3.6 applications for EI benefits have been submitted, with 3 million processed.