Nfld. & Labrador

N.L.-produced gowns, face shields get green light from Health Canada

A collaboration between Memorial University, Eastern Health and a group of business leaders now has the federal seal of approval to test and make personal protective equipment within the province.

Approval given for first locally made gowns

These face shields made by St. John's company PolyUnity were the first local ones to be certified by Health Canada. Now, gowns can be added to the list of locally produced equipment. (Submitted by Doug Angel)

A collaboration between Memorial University, Eastern Health and a group of business leaders known as TaskforceNL now has the federal seal of approval from Health Canada to test and make face shields and gowns within Newfoundland and Labrador.

That marks the first time medical gowns will be developed locally, according to a press release from Eastern Health Monday, with CEO David Diamond calling it a "significant step forward" in the effort for the province to become self-sufficient in personal protective equipment.

The health authority has contracted St. John's-based company DF Barnes to manage the gown and shield manufacturing efforts, along with TaskforceNL.

St. John's company PolyUnity received Health Canada approval in April for its locally made face shields, which are being used throughout Eastern Health facilities.

According to the release, Eastern Health and its partners are working to meet Health Canada requirements for other types of protective equipment, with laboratories at the health authority and university preparing to conduct the necessary testing.

The province has struggled to get enough protective equipment into the hands of health-care workers during the COVD-19 pandemic, with stockpiles of gear created after the 2009 H1N1 pandemic scrapped after it expired.

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