Millions of masks and thousands of ventilators have been ordered by the federal government to shore up the national stockpile of supplies needed to treat and fight COVID-19.

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Tuesday the equipment will be added to the Canadian store of essential medical goods in the coming days.

It includes 60 million N95 masks, a specific piece of protection for health care officials, expected to be delivered this week.

Anand says there are 1,570 ventilators also on order, and the government is seeking out 4,000 more.

Thornhill Medical, a Toronto-based company, says it’s making 500 of them, and expects to deliver them in early April.

Anand says there are also a million more COVID-19 test kits on the way.

The purchases of supplies in those key three areas is a follow-up on an announcement by the federal government on March 20 that it had signed up three companies to help provide critical goods.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the government has signed letters of intent with five other companies to also produce equipment.

Overall, the government has spoken to 3,000 different firms, he said.

But how much gear the country will need is up to Canadians themselves, Trudeau said.

“We will need more masks, ventilators and testing kits, but how many more we need depends entirely on you,” Trudeau said.

“If you stay home and follow public health recommendations, you can slow the spread.”

Ventilators are considered crucial as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and in severe cases can make impossible for people to breathe on their own.

Thornhill Medical said it has teamed up with manufacturing company Linamar to make them.

“We are honoured to provide our Canadian-made ventilator system to support Canadians and our health-care system in its efforts to fight COVID-19,” said Lesley Gouldie, the company’s CEO, in a statement.

The government is also allocating $2 billion for the purchase of protective personal equipment.

“Extraordinary measures are required in these extraordinary times. To limit the spread of COVID-19, protect critical infrastructure and ensure Canada has the supplies required, our government is leaving no stone unturned,” Anand said Tuesday.

“This is all hands on deck.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2020.


The Canadian Press