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SafeCare BC survey finds PPE supply improved, but still lacking

Concern over PPE supply

A recent SafeCare BC survey of continuing care organizations shows that while the current supply of personal protective equipment has improved from the critical shortages experienced in the spring, 82% report concern about their ability to maintain adequate PPE levels over the next three to six months.

Lack of availability (94%), cost (83%), and increased use of PPE (68%) were cited as the top-three barriers to maintaining an adequate supply.Of all sectors, home care organizations fared the worst in terms of 36% currently facing a critical shortage of PPE.

“While we are not at the same critical levels of PPE supply that we experienced a few months ago, it is concerning that a significant majority of continuing care organizations are concerned about their ability to maintain adequate PPE levels in the coming months,” says Jen Lyle, CEO, SafeCare BC. “Organizations should be focussed on providing great care, not worrying whether they will run out of PPE. This means the sector and government need to continue working together to ensure adequate levels of PPE for all healthcare workers.”

In response to the critical shortage of PPE, SafeCare BC launched its Operation Protect initiative, which in four months collected more than 1.2 million items of PPE from generous individuals and businesses. In addition, we sourced out new suppliers of PPE for our members. But the supply of donated PPE cannot be sustained, as the pandemic continues. 

  • 8% of care providers say they have three days or less of surgical masks.
  • 63% report having no N-95 masks (39%) have only enough to last up to three days.
  • 29% of care providers say they have no protective gowns.
  • 29% anticipate running out of gloves within a week. 
  • 22% of respondents anticipate running out of hand sanitizer within a week. 


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