Dr. Brendan Carr, President and CEO of the NSHA, briefed health officials on the new policy in a video posted online Tuesday.
Carr said the decision is based on evolving information that shows COVID-19 can be spread by people with the virus before they even have symptoms or are asymptomatic.
“We think it will provide some protection for both the individual and can protect others if we have COVID and are not aware of it,” he said.
The new police intervene the same day that Nova Scotia announced its first death related to COVID-19.
Staff will receive a procedural mask upon arrival at work to be used throughout their shift or until it becomes dirty.
Register medical grade masks for healthcare workers
On Monday, the country’s chief medical officers of health said that wearing masks when members of the public are in hard-to-get-away areas, such as public transportation and grocery stores, could help reduce the spread of the disease.
Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang warned Monday that wearing a mask is not a substitute for hand washing, self-isolation and physical distance.
Strang also warned that members of the public should only use “non-medical grade” masks and homemade masks.
“It is extremely important that the medical supply of masks and other personal protective equipment is maintained for the health system and for other essential workers. “
N.S. still awaiting delivery of supplies
In Carr’s video, he said that the health authority has put in place a team to review best practices and conservation measures for the use of personal protective equipment, or PPE, as well as the monitoring of access to masks, gloves and gowns.
“The good news is that we are seeing some success with all of these efforts,” he said.
“To date, we have a healthy stock in stock. “
Carr said there were no “near team problems with our PPE”, but said the health authority knows that the virus will have a sustained push and that global supply chains have been interrupted.
Premier Stephen McNeil said on Tuesday that the province has a month’s supply of N95 masks and other PPE, even with the new protocols for hospital staff. The province is awaiting an order that would extend the supply until mid-May or early June, he said.
Nova Scotia continues to await a wholesale order for supplies as part of the national procurement process. McNeil said Monday that “parts” of the order have been executed, although no further details have been provided. In addition to PPE, the province also ordered 140 fans.
McNeil’s office confirmed on Tuesday that he had also contacted contacts in China and hoped that a shipment of surgical masks would arrive in the next week.
Stanfield will manufacture up to 130,000 dresses per week
Carr’s message to staff came the same day that the health authority announced a contract with Stanfield’s Limited of Truro, Nova Scotia, to produce 30,000 protective gowns each week for 16 weeks for NSHA staff and from the IWK Health Center.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Jon Stanfield, president of the company, said the contract was worth $ 4.3 million with an option to extend. The first batch of dresses should be ready by the end of next week.
Stanfield’s is one of the companies the federal government has approached to help produce more supplies in the country. The company signed a $ 24 million contract with Ottawa to produce 100,000 dresses every week from May to October.
This represents 130,000 dresses per week from next month.
Stanfield said more than 70 workers were called back to do the work. There is an appeal for more workers hoping to double production and add a second shift.
A weekend and night shift is also possible as long as the company can recruit enough people and train them, he said. Sewers will earn $ 17 an hour with the ability to earn bonuses based on production targets.
All public health precautions are taken, he said, including wiping machines between shifts and monitoring employees every day they come to the factory by taking the temperature and laying down a series of Questions. The factory is closed to the public.
The need to maintain manufacturing
The contracts come at a time when retail orders have hit near zero, Stanfield said. They provide “a very nice bridge” while the company, like many others, waits to see what is going on with the economy.
Stanfield said the factory is normally busy, but the output of the dresses will be higher and more intense than usual.
The fabric for the dresses is from another Truro-based company, and Stanfield said the company is in talks with manufacturing partners in other provinces for help meeting demand. He added that more orders could be filled if labor was available.
“Cannot be disabled”
The unique situation the pandemic has created and the global demand for supplies are an argument for maintaining a certain level of manufacturing at all times in the country, said Stanfield.
“We have to make sure in the future, as a result of what has happened here, that we have a level of domestic supply and readiness across the country. And really it cannot be turned off after that “
Businesses must maintain a certain level of production available, so if the dial is to be turned in the future again, it can happen quickly, he said.
Carr said information on the availability of supplies is shared daily with local leaders and promised staff that they would be kept informed.
“If we ever get to a point where we plan not to have enough PPE, I promise to let you know. “
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