At least 2 Toronto hospitals begin rationing protective gear as COVID-19 crisis deepens

A registered nurse is sounding the alarm after at least two Toronto hospitals have started to limit face masks for front-line health-care workers amid a mounting crisis over the lack of protective gear that places medical staff at risk in the battle against COVID-19.

The nurse, who works at a Toronto-area hospital, said there is currently a “massive shortage” of personal protective equipment (PPE), most importantly surgical masks, and hospitals are starting to limit the amount of PPE handed out to nurses and doctors per shift.

“We’re scared. This has never happened,” the nurse said, adding that they have heard from colleagues across the Greater Toronto Area. Global News is keeping the name of the nurse confidential because they are not allowed to speak publicly about the issue.

“Because of the scale in which we are working, there just isn’t the proper amount of protective equipment,” the nurse said. “We’re all terrified, and that goes for nurses, doctors and any other bedside health professionals.”

Surgical masks and N95 respirators can be life-saving for nurses and doctors, as they are the most effective barriers against large droplets expelled by talking, coughing or sneezing — one of the main ways COVID-19 is transmitted.

Health officials in Ontario, and across Canada, have begun a desperate hunt for N95 masks, surgical masks, gowns, gloves and face shields to stave off looming shortages.

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