Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

A Toronto Star report today says Ontario destroyed tens of millions masks vital in the pandemic fight, because their recommended best-before date had expired.

Reporter Rosie DiManno says a decade after stockpiling N95 masks following the SARS epidemic, in 2013 the province began destroying most of them, along with thousand of cases of other health care supplies that would help combat the coronavirus today.

And apparently Ontario didn’t replenish their emergency supply to the levels needed in 2020.

This after U.S. officials said that those expiry dates may be premature.

Yesterday, as Muskoka’s hospitals put out a call locally for donations of masks and similar supplies, some other hospitals are placing severe restrictions on the number doctors and nurses can use.

In the U.S. the health state is so dire that hand-made masks are being made by volunteers — which aren’t anywhere as good.

Meanwhile, today, federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer critized Ottawa’s decision to send personal protective equipment overseas during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Today’s news is outrageous.  Justin Trudeau needs to explain why he sent 50,118 face shields, 1,101 masks, 1,820 goggles, 36,425 medical coveralls, 200,000 nitrile gloves and 3,000 aprons from Canada’s own government reserves overseas in February.
Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu admitted recently she knew of the COVID-19 in January.

“The government was repeatedly warned by medical experts and the World Health Organization to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak,” Scheer said in a release Wednesday.

“Now doctors and nurses across the country are facing urgent shortages of critical supplies. The Canadian Medical Association has reported that its members are even having to consider using expired items. No front-line healthcare worker should be put at risk because of a lack of personal protective equipment.”

Ottawa said the shipment was normal international protocol in response to global crises.

And Trudeau said today that Canada has enough supplies, despite news reports to the contrary.

Scheer said “Justin Trudeau must immediately explain to Canadians:

  • What impact this decision has on Canada’s reserve of critical personal protective equipment?
  • How is the government going to immediately address the shortage of personal protective equipment to ensure that our front-line healthcare workers have the supplies they need to fight COVID-19?
  • When can hospitals and front-line healthcare workers expect to receive critical supplies?

“Since the beginning of this crisis, Conservatives have been focused on Canadians and getting them the support they desperately need. We are working hard to hold the government to account and will continue to ask tough questions about the government’s response to COVID-19. Protecting the health and safety of Canadians will remain our top priority.”

Canada’s department of Global Affairs shipped 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China last month to help Beijing fight the novel corona virus.

China has recently sent supplies to Europe in the fight.

CTV’s Evan Soloman tweeted this afternoon that he has unconfirmed reports that China may reciprocate in greater numbers than the 16 tonnes.

A critical shortage of masks for health-care workers was made worse in 2013 when the province began destroying them due to over-do dates. If you have any masks, Muskoka hospitals can use them stat.

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