Alberta Government Says Those 'Shoddy' Masks Meet All Their Standards
The latest shipment of face masks that made health care workers furious in Alberta are safe to use according to authorities. In a recent conference, officials claimed that Alberta's new masks work and that people will have to work with what they're given. However, they also said they'll work with the manufacturer to fix some complaints brought up by a union representing health care workers in the province.
"The masks sourced for use from China is safe to use in Alberta and all other provinces," said Tyler Shandro, Alberta's minister of health, in a news conference Monday, April 20.
He continued, saying that the masks meet all required safety standards and that each mask was properly tested and inspected before being sent out.
This comes after tons of doctors took to social media with complaints about the new masks. Eventually, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which represents many Albertan doctors, shared a statement about the masks' flaws.
AUPE said they didn't fit right or seal properly, which could result in exposure to infection. The masks also had a very strong odour and gave some wearers rashes, headache, nausea, and throat irritation, among others.
However, Jitendra Prasa, chief program officer of contracting, procurement and supply management for Alberta Health Services, reassured that the masks meet safety standards.
With that being said, Prasa also noted the province is working with the supplier to fix some of the complaints. They'll work to increase the size of the masks and fix the nose clips so they'll fit better, for example.
LIVE at 3:30 - Watch Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health (@CMOH_Alberta) and officials provide an update on… https://t.co/hnj59ZcYFU— Alberta Government (@Alberta Government) 1587409220.0
"All of our PPE meet our safety standards," said Prasa.
In terms of why they're expanding the sources of masks, Prasa explained that Alberta goes through roughly 600,000 masks a day and that they need to work with new suppliers to meet demand.
@shandro @jkenney I question the quality control that went into approving these new Vanch masks. It took me 30 sec… https://t.co/iw8iT65vb4— Niels Jacobsen (@Niels Jacobsen) 1587311577.0
Prasa also reassured that the province has enough PPE to last for "30 to 60 days at any given time."
Susan Slade, vice president of the AUPE, told Narcity in a previous interview that it's not just about the supply, but the quality of the masks.
@mchatenay @jkenney Here are the Vanch ones. Poor quality, 3 of my nurses reported the earloops snap miduse, inclu… https://t.co/TITklIUDz6— Dr. Heref Oru (#ResignKenney #AlohaUCP) (@Dr. Heref Oru (#ResignKenney #AlohaUCP)) 1587292404.0
"At the end of the day, they are not as good a quality. And the frontline people that are wearing the masks have sent hundreds of complaints about them," said Slade.
"We know that the concerns you expressed have been heard and noted," said Prasa.