British Columbia is looking within its own borders to address growing concerns of shortages of personal protective equipment.
The province is partnering with the Digital Technology Supercluster, a non-profit industry group based in Vancouver, and the B.C. Business Council to create the COVID-19 Supply Hub.
The online platform will be responsible for co-ordinating, sourcing and expediting medical supplies and personal protective equipment for provincial health authorities to support health workers fighting COVID-19.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned that the province is dealing with a higher “burn rate,” or consumption rate, than expected on surgical masks, respirators and other gear, and that B.C. needs more resources to keep front-line workers safe.
The province is concerned global demand for the gear will make it more challenging to get.
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The supply hub will be a single point of entry to prioritize the thousands of offers and donations for essential supplies from business and other groups since the response to the coronavirus began.
Its initial focus is on sourcing supplies for the health-care system and front-line workers, though government is also accepting offers for other essentials, like cleaning supplies.
READ MORE: Coronavirus: Kelowna doctor warns of ‘critical’ shortage of personal protective equipment
Horgan announced plans for the hub in a province-wide televised address on Tuesday.
“The hub will connect B.C. companies to health-care centres in need of supplies. Like hand sanitizer, made by local distillers, and reusable medical garments designed by outdoor clothing companies,” he said.
The hub will be managed by a unit at Emergency Management BC and will co-ordinate with other provincial and federal initiatives to secure supplies.
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