Coronavirus: Ontario stockpiled 55 million N95 masks after SARS, officials checking usability

The Government of Ontario has confirmed to Global News they are looking at using expired medical supplies to deal with the growing coronavirus outbreak in the province.

Approximately 55 million N95 respirator masks were stockpiled in Ontario after the SARS epidemic in 2002.

Officials would only confirm the expiration of those masks but did not reveal how many are left in the stockpile that could potentially be deployed.

On average, N95 masks expire after five years for normal use, though in a crisis situation exceptions for their use could be made.

There are mounting concerns from health-care providers about the lack of personal protection equipment, including masks.

Hayley Chazan, senior media relations manager to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, issued a statement in response.

“Currently, the ministry is working closely with manufacturers and key partners to explore and evaluate the use of expired supplies including N95 respirators,” she wrote.

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