Concerns over PPE, safety measures could mean delayed health opening
CALGARY -- The province has cleared some health services to open their doors on Monday, but it’s looking more and more likely many will not.
Non-urgent surgeries, chiropractor work and physiotherapy are among the services cleared to resume with some restrictions on May 4.
Dental offices may also resume operations for urgent and emergent care once they get the go-ahead from the three associations that govern Alberta dentistry.
But many of those openings will likely be delayed. Several dental hygienists in the Calgary area confirmed to CTV News that their offices currently only have enough to PPE on hand for one or two days after shipments were halted for the dentistry industry.
Limited masks and gloves could put off the opening, as most in health are not cleared to work without proper protections.
Officials with the Alberta Dental Association say they have been assured by three major PPE supply companies that the association's PPE orders will be filled.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw reiterated that message Friday, but acknowledged the orders could take some time as demand is high.
Edmonton surgeon Dr. Michael Chatenay says his staff isn’t prepared with its current resources.
He says what little PPE he has isn’t up to the standard he’s used to — instead, he believes the quality masks and gloves were sent to other provinces.
“The personal protective equipment we have is not up to snuff,” he told CTV News. “The stuff we’ve been supplied by the region is not adequate (and the) real key here is going to be in ramping up activities again without jeopardizing patient health.”
Dr. Darren Markland echoed the sentiment.
“I’m willing to accept a certain amount of risk, as long as I have the resources,” Markland said. “What I’m not willing to accept is cheap PPE that doesn’t work and political manoeuvres that give away the good stuff so that we have to settle for the bad stuff.”
Beyond “soon,” it’s unclear when new equipment could come in.
It’s also unclear what changes may need to be made in offices to accommodate new safety measures. Some other provinces have floated the idea of isolation rooms and new air filtration systems.
As for when everything will open? Things should vary college to college. It’s expected chiropractors and physiotherapists will resume some service late next week.
Some of the dental offices CTV News spoke with Friday say they’re eyeing May 14: the day non-emergency dental work is allowed.