Health minister asks Manitoba businesses to provide products, supplies for hospitals during pandemic
'Doing this out of an abundance of caution,' not because of low supply amounts, says Cameron Friesen
The province wants local businesses to help provide products and supplies that are being used more often because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Wednesday at a news conference.
Friesen said he's unaware of anything in particular being in "quite low" supply, and emphasized that Wednesday's announcement is intended to make sure nothing runs out.
"We're doing this out of an abundance of caution," he said.
"This is all about helping out" and keeping Manitobans safe, he said.
Businesses can register on an online portal in order to provide goods and services for front-line health-care workers and their patients.
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Companies that can provide supplies from their inventory, and those willing to manufacture new products for the province, are welcome, Friesen said.
"This initiative is designed to remove barriers that will allow Manitoba businesses and manufacturers to redeploy capacity toward the production of essential equipment," the minister said.
There's a need for disposable N95 masks, surgical masks, medical-grade gloves, vinyl gloves, surgical and medical gowns, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and the lab reagent required to test for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Services needed include nursing, security, pet care, transportation and IT, among others, he said.
Friesen said the province is also collaborating with the federal government to ensure it gets what it needs, and that a shipment of supplies is on its way.
The province has also purchased 27 new ventilators for local hospitals that have arrived in Manitoba, Friesen said, adding that 16 more are on the way.
On Wednesday morning, public health officials announced that 14 new cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have been identified in Manitoba.
Confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Manitoba now total 35.
One patient, a woman in her 60s, is in critical condition in hospital.
With files from Bartley Kives