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Long-term care homes in northern Ontario having hard time getting N-95 masks, NDP health critic says | CBC News

Ontario’s NDP health critic says long-term care homes throughout the province are having a hard time accessing proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas said she’s heard from homes throughout Ontario reporting that they’re facing difficulties in accessing N-95 masks, in particular.

Gelinas said Sudbury’s seniors care facilities have been waiting six months for PPE, and have still have not received the masks they need. 

Gelinas said long-term care homes want to have the equipment in place in case a staff member or resident tests positive for COVID-19.

‘All is not good’

Following the death of a long-term care resident at St. Joseph’s Care Centre in Sudbury in May, officials made a plan to be able to deal with a second wave of COVID-19. But Gelinas said they’ve been having difficulties in obtaining N-95 masks for months.

“When I see a long-term care home really working hard to put a good plan together, to be a good long-term care operator and protect your staff, protect your residents, and then you’ve got a government [that] keeps saying ‘All is good’, when all is not good, it’s really disheartening,” Gelinas told CBC News. 

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas says the Ford government needs to get proactive about personal protective equipment at long-term care homes. (Legislative Assembly of Ontario)

She said the provincial government is reactionary when it comes to dealing with the issue of access to PPE and wonders if it indicates that the province’s stockpile is not as robust as they are leading people to believe. 

“You need the PPE the minute the outbreak happens, not three days later when the delivery has arrived. Why not let them have an inventory on site so that if it happens, they are ready,” she said. 

Gelinas said one of the biggest challenges in addressing the issues is that many long-term care home operators are hesitant to put pressure on the government for fear of reprisal. She said she’s been bringing the issue forward at Queen’s Park for months.

More stories from CBC Sudbury

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