Atlantic health unions want answers on access to N95 respirators

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HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s largest nursing union calls on province to formally agree to allow workers to call when required to wear properly fitting N95 respirators when treating COVID patients -19.

Janet Hazelton, President of Nova Scotia Nurses ‘Union, says she wants an answer today as to whether a written commitment will be given.

Debbie Forward, president of the Union of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador, said she made a similar request during a conference call with health officials in her province last week.

Alberta health workers have already signed an agreement with health agencies.

The Alberta memorandum notes that if a healthcare worker determines “on reasonable grounds” that the N95 respirator is necessary, he will not be “unreasonably refused by his employer”.

Hazelton says his union has yet to be told whether a mask shortage should occur when cases of the disease peak in Nova Scotia.

However, it has stated at this point that it hopes that domestic suppliers of protective masks will be in operation to replace supplies that are no longer available from China due to the pandemic.

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions has stated that fitted respirators should be standard in emergency care units treating COVID-19 patients with procedures such as intubation, aspiration and CPR.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 2, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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