Nfld. & Labrador

Blitz launched for masks, gloves, gowns and other PPE items

A group of business leaders and private sector volunteers are going to people's houses Thursday to collect personal protective equipment for front-line workers.

If you have items around your house, call 1-833-999-TASK

A group in Newfoundland and Labrador is working to deliver as much personal protective equipment as possible to frontline workers. (CBC/Radio-Canada)

A group of private sector volunteers is turning to the general public on Thursday to find life-saving personal protective equipment for front-line workers in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Taskforce NL was started by a collective of about 75 people when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the province. 

In two weeks of existence, the group has delivered more than 1.5 million pieces of equipment, and now it is looking for more from people's homes or businesses. 

"Even in their sheds," Taskforce NL team leader Cathy Bennett said with a chuckle.

"We want to make sure that anybody who has this material in Newfoundland and Labrador, that the health-care system knows where it is in case we end up needing it."

People are asked to call 1-833-999-TASK, or visit taskforcenl.ca to register their personal protective equipment.

The service is available Thursday until 8 p.m. NT.

Cathy Bennett, pictured here in December, is CEO of the Bennett Group of Companies and a former provincial finance minister. She's taken on the role as team leader of Taskforce NL. (Terri Coles/CBC)

The registry will let the group know where they can quickly get the equipment if the need becomes available.

All masks, gowns, shields and gloves must be unused and in the original packaging. It also has to be medical-grade.

Bennett said the group consists of about 75 business leaders in the province with a wide range of expertise. By pooling their resources and leaning on their contacts worldwide, they've been able to find personal protective equipment and get it to the province quickly.

Taskforce NL is also looking at producing medical-grade items in the province and is working with manufacturers to retool their work stations for producing things like masks and shields.

Bennett said they are still working with prototypes and refining products, but hope to have success in the next few days.

"We're working very quietly behind the scenes to make sure that we can achieve the standards that we have promised," she said.

As for why Bennett — a business owner and the province's former finance minister — is getting involved, she said the reason is simple: "Everybody has something they can do."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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