The City of Toronto recalled $200,000 worth of surgical masks after they failed to meet the specifications required.
There were reports that the masks wear ripping and tearing, and after further inspection, the city concluded that the masks ordered did not meet the standard needed.
The city said 4,000 boxes, containing 50 masks per box, were received of which 1,252 boxes, or 62,600 masks, were distributed to long-term care homes on March 28.
According to the city, occupational health safety staff have been contacted about the issue.
The city said they are investigating the issue to determine how many employees in the Toronto’s long-term care homes were caring for a patient while wearing these masks, and if there was possible exposure to COVID-19.
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“The masks are being returned, and the vendor has committed to a full refund,” the city said.
“The City is retrieving its stockpile of surgical masks as a stop-gap measure until a new, appropriate grade mask, as specified, can be purchased, which will happen on a priority basis, as the loss of this inventory makes for a significant shortfall of surgical masks for the City.”
The Province of Ontario has also been contacted to help expedite this order.
As a result, the city has undertaken a quality control review of its supply chain, and all future orders of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be subject to “heightened verification.”
“The global supply chain of PPE is a known concern around the world and all efforts are being made, by all governments, to ensure the products shipped and received on an urgent basis meet established standards,” the city said.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford said that supplies in Ontario are getting “low” and there is an increased demand for medical supplies, as more new cases are confirmed every day.
“We’re exhausting every avenue available to us and overturning every stone,” Ford said.