Interior Health working to secure PPE for staff, says CEO

Collective effort to find PPE

As Interior Health continues to monitor and mitigate risks to staff associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, CEO Susan Brown has shared how the organization is handling patients who test positive for the virus.

The Interior Health region currently has more than 120 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

"When we have somebody who is COVID-19 positive obviously they are isolated in an appropriate space,” says Brown, “and the staff, when entering and providing care for that patient, would have the appropriate protective equipment on when providing care.”

Different types of procedures may require different equipment for staff to wear, says Brown, in cases where it is more likely they could risk transmission of droplets. 

There is a collective effort right now to secure enough personal protective equipment for staff, she says, and they're continuing to monitor the situation as it develops. 

Right now, IH says it has enough equipment for all procedures at all hospitals.

"Right now we work with the province to secure a supply chain and that’s done through provincial health services authority," Brown said, admitting there has been a "significant disruption" in the worldwide PPE market, so the province is working with alternate vendors to source additional equipment. 

"We did get a shipment last week as well, as federal government also got a shipment to provide equipment to the provinces, so we're just continuing to look at new vendors that might be available who we can partner with."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called out the United States Monday for preventing Canada from obtaining PPE such as masks.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday they "feel good" about the province's stockpiles of PPE. "we’ve put in place… measures to ensure we are using PPE properly so that that we extend current supply.”

He said the province has "seen some success" is securing more equipment itself and has confirmed they have received a shipment from the federal government.

Brown wants to remind the public that if you’re not feeling well and think it’s related to COVID-19, to visit the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control website where you can find help.

The BCCDC website is regularly updated with current information, and also features the COVID-19 self-assessment tool. 

"If you think you need testing for COVID-19 that would be a really good thing to take," she said, referring to the tool.

"If it comes up that it is a high possibility, you may need testing you can always reach out to your family care provider, or an urgent primary care centre. Call ahead before you show up, they can get an appointment for you or direct you where to go. 

“Worst case scenario if you’re feeling unwell and have respiratory issues and you think it’s COVID-19, call ahead to the emergency department, let them know you’re coming and they can make arrangements to get you in and into a room set up so you’re not sitting amongst other people."

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