Tory says city not at a 'crisis' point with PPE supply yet, despite grim projections
An N-95 mask is seen in Toronto on Friday, March 27, 2020. One of the world's largest U.S.-based makers of consumer products says it has been told by the White House to stop exporting medical-grade face masks to the Canadian market.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, April 15, 2020 7:34AM EDT
Mayor John Tory says that the city is not at a “crisis” point with respect to its stockpile of personal protective equipment, despite new projections suggesting that it could run out of some things as soon as next week in a worst case scenario.
Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who is leading the city’s emergency response, released an inventory of the city’s stockpile of PPE at Tory’s request on Tuesday.
He said that the city currently has enough face shields to last for 26 days at its current consumption rate but he warned that we could run out in as few as eight days if infection rates were to spike.
The supplies of other PPE, meanwhile, are a little more robust. Pegg said that Toronto currently has enough surgical masks to last for another 52 days at current consumption rates, enough isolation gowns to last another 51 days and enough N-95 respirators to last for another 107 days.
However, he said that the city would only have a few weeks supply of all of those products in a worst case scenario (25, 18 and 33 days respectively).
“We have had all the way through in Toronto a reasonable inventory. That one for the face masks is a little bit light but only in a worst case scenario,” Tory told CP24 on Wednesday morning. “Now that we have the repot we can map out a strategy, though. It is not a crisis but it is a challenge for us to make sure that supply is maintained especially if things get worse.”
At the moment, Toronto is going through 1,600 N-95 respirator masks per day; 23,560 surgical masks per day; 17,500 isolation gowns per day; and 2,820 face shields per day.
The majority of the N-95 respirators are used by first responders in a pre-hospital setting, while the majority of the other equipment is being used within long-term care homes and shelters, where their use has skyrocketed.
For example Tory said that the city’s long-term care homes were going through about 18,000 surgical masks a day pre-pandemic but are now using up more than 185,000 a week due to rules that have put in place to help limit the spread of the virus.
“What is happening right now is that there is a fair bit of this stuff that has been ordered and paid for that is stuck in customs, a lot of it China,” Tory said Wednesday. “Those are the kinds of things we face in getting supply but as you saw there is some stuff coming from Alberta this week, which is fantastic, and we have a lot of private people that are helping. So there is a lot of effort being made here and I am confident that now that we know exactly what we need and what the worst case scenario will do we will be fine.”
Tory said that while the city needs to make sure it has enough PPE to get it through the next couple of months, it also needs to build its inventory levels up at the same time in the event of a “second wave” of infections in the fall.