Lack of PPE contributes to outbreak

A NIOSH N95 particulate respirator by 3M. 23 June 2013. (Photo by Banej from Wikipedia)

The union representing workers at the Village of St. Clair long-term care facility says a lack of personal protective equipment is a major contributing factor in the COVID-19 outbreak underway there.

“We were assured [Monday] by this employer that our members would have access to an N-95 mask,” said President of Unifor Local 2458 Tullio DiPonti. “Twenty-four hours later these masks are not available to these front-line heroes. With more than 50 residents and 25 staff already testing positive, this should have been a priority weeks ago. It’s hard to believe that with over 2000 deaths of residents in long-term care homes in this province alone, that employers have not prepared for this.

According to the union’s latest figures, there are 48 cases among residents and 25 cases among staff at the Village of St. Clair.

The union is calling on the government to make sure all employees in health care settings throughout the province have the proper equipment to protect themselves during the second wave of this pandemic.

“The Ontario Government made it clear that all health care workers will have access to proper PPE including N-95,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “This outbreak is evidence of a blatant disregard of the directive and the safety of residents and workers.”

The Village of St. Clair is one of eight long-term-care and retirement facilities currently experiencing an outbreak in Windsor-Essex.