Saskatchewan to learn lesson after disposing expired N-95 masks: health minister

Saskatchewan to learn lesson after disposing expired N-95 masks: health minister

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s health minister says the province has learned lessons from a decision several years ago to clear thousands of expired masks from the province’s stockpile.

Jim Reiter says he was concerned to learn that about 166,000 N-95 respirator masks were disposed from a storage room at a Regina hospital in 2014.

The issue was raised by the Opposition NDP, which says the province hired a consultant that year to clear some of its pandemic inventory.

NDP health critic Vicki Mowat says the government failed to properly maintain supplies and wasted tax dollars.

Reiter says there isn’t a current shortage of personal protective equipment but, like other provinces, Saskatchewan faced supply chain pressures when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in the spring.

Reiter says officials are putting plans in place to ensure supplies like masks aren’t left to expire.

“We’ve learned from this one,” he said Thursday.

“It’s as simple as an eye is kept on expiry dates and before it expires it gets put into the mainstream of the health-care system and is used. And then those supplies are replaced with new ones.”

Earlier Thursday, Saskatchewan reported another fatality from COVID-19, bringing the provincial death toll to 14. The person was in their 70s and in the far north region.

Health officials reported 10 new infections over the past two days, for a total of 795 cases in the province. Most of the new infections are in the far north.

So far, 701 people have recovered from the illness, while six remain in hospital.

Officials also said that they are no longer cautioning against non-essential travel to northern Alberta.

The advisory was put in place in April after cases of COVID-19 in northern Saskatchewan were linked to travel in northern Alberta, with an outbreak at an oilsands facility near Fort McMurray.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says officials in Alberta have announced that outbreak is over. But residents travelling between the areas are still encouraged to take precautions and to get tested if they develop symptoms related to COVID-19.

Saskatchewan’s far north region has been one of the areas hit hardest by the virus and is reported to have 46 active cases.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2020

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

robbery
UPDATE: Shooting suspect arrested by Wetaskiwin/Camrose RCMP

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey. Photo Submitted
Rimbey hotel gets new lease on life

The Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey is now open and taking bookings

Leanne Evans, Rimbey Neighbourhood Place Program Coordinator, accepts a donation of $5,000 from Kevin Maxwell manager of Field Support for Telus. (Photo Submitted)
Rimbey Neighbourhood Place making big changes behind the scenes

Rimbey Neighbourhood Place recently recieved a $5,000 donation from Telus

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Alberta's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday, July 6, 2020. Advisers are reportedly recommending Alberta's kindergarten to Grade 4 arts and social studies curriculum remove all references to residential schools because it's "too sad" for young children. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Advisers suggest Alberta students not learn about residential schools before Grade 4

Documents suggest children younger than Grade 4 are too emotionally vulnerable to learn about residential schools

File photo
RCMP’s response to online discussions about anti-racism demonstrations

Ponoka RCMP Staff Sgt.’s comments misattributed online

Shaelynn Decock and her dog Taco, who has been missing since Aug. 26. Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake woman looking for closure for her stolen dog

Shaelynn Decock says it has been two months since she last saw her dog Taco

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday February 4, 2020 in Ottawa. The Alberta government is welcoming news that Ottawa has approved an expansion of the Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. gathering system in Alberta — while condemning federal delays that it says cost this summer’s construction season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta welcomes federal approval of gas pipeline expansion while criticizing delay

The project is expected to create up to 2,920 direct jobs during construction, the federal release said

Most Read