A website to connect people who have unused personal protective equipment including masks with hospitals and health organizations that need them has been launched by a Peace Arch Hospital emergency physician. (Screenshot image)

White Rock ER doc creates supply website to help prepare ‘for what we think might be coming’

‘Mask a Hero’ offers contacts to connect those who have extra masks, etc. with those on front lines

An emergency-room doctor at Peace Arch Hospital has launched a website aimed at helping ensure health-care workers both locally and across the province have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) – such as N95 masks – on hand to cope with an anticipated increase in COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Sunny Johal said he set up Mask a Hero British Columbia (maskaherobc.ca) on Sunday to connect those who have extras of unused supplies with hospital and other health-care organizations that need them, after a social-media post a week ago about the shortage prompted messages from “many” people wanting to know where to donate.

Johal – who has worked at PAH for about a year – said he heard from dentists’ offices, tattoo parlours and even those in the film industry who wanted to offer their stock.

“They said, ‘hey, we want to donate these – where and how do we do this?’” he said.

The site currently includes contact information for donation co-ordinators across B.C., including Peace Arch Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health and Fraser Health, and is being updated regularly, Johal said, noting the website is also for Ontario, as he also has contacts – and a licence to practise – there.

In addition to masks, items sought include goggles, surgical gowns and face shields.

Johal emphasized he is not personally collecting the items.

“I created this website so that people know how they can donate to their local hospitals or health institutions, and what kind of supplies they might want, and who to contact, and then they’ll go through their local process,” he said.

Johal said he didn’t know exactly the current supply situation for Peace Arch Hospital, but said its position is similar to those across the country.

“We’re well aware and cognizant that there is limited personal protective equipment for health-care workers, so we are trying to conserve the supply as much as possible, but at the same time, we want to protect our health-care workers,” Johal said.

“Generally, what’s happening is we have a great team at Peace Arch… everyone banding together and preparing for what we think might be coming, which is an increase in cases of the COVID virus.”

READ MORE: B.C. reports 3 new COVID-19 deaths but 100 people have recovered, Henry says

He pointed to reports regarding New York physicians, respiratory therapists and other front-line service providers running out of PPE items or being “critically low.”

“I’m trying to get us to a situation where we’re not at that kind of critical situation where we unfortunately see others across the globe.”

The province’s health officer last week discouraged the use of masks by the general public, noting the practice hasn’t helped public health in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Where it is incredibly important is in the health care system,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “And we need to make sure we have masks and respirators for our health care providers to make sure that they stay safe.”

READ MORE: Myth of medical masks drives profiteering in B.C. COVID-19 battle

A similar appeal for medical supplies was also launched by SafeCare BC Monday.

In a news release, the organization said that ‘Operation Protect’ aims “to ensure critically needed personal protective equipment and medical supplies, such as gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer are available for health care workers.”

“We are hearing daily from long-term care homes, assisted living residences, and home care operators, because they are critically low of these supplies when they are most needed,” the release states.

“Health care workers are the heroes in our communities, providing care to the most vulnerable in our society, including our elders and those with critical health issues. They are doing this while facing unprecedented challenges. They need our support.”

The “urgent” appeal asks that anyone with “unused and unopened personal protective equipment or medical supplies, such as gloves, masks, gowns, eye protection, hand sanitizer and hospital-grade disinfectant wipes” to visit www.safecarebc.ca/operationprotect, or call 1-877-955-6565, to learn exactly what’s needed and how to donate.

The release notes the initiative is supported by BC Care Providers Association, BigSteelBox, City of Vancouver and City of Surrey.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scarecrow Festival given COVID twist

Art’s Nursery’s annual fall fundraiser, on the Langley-Surrey border, continues with some tweaks

Surrey school district student enrolment down from projections

‘That’s not something I can say in my time in Surrey, I have ever said at the board table’: superintendent

Fraser Health relocates Surrey COVID-19 testing centre

New location will triple testing capacity: Dr. Victoria Lee

Latimer Road the latest Surrey school to report COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

White Rock acupuncturist suspended for ‘scare tactics, excessive fees’

30-day suspension for Jun Hua (Davy) Hua issued Aug. 18

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at B.C. border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

Most Read