Company hopes to make a million masks weekly at Kitchener, Vaughan facilities
Published Tuesday, April 7, 2020 2:23PM EDT
An N95 mask seen in this undated file photo.
TORONTO -- Premier Doug Ford announced Monday that the first made-in-Ontario face masks are ready, one day after he warned that the province would run out of personal protective equipment in one week.
Ford was at the Woodbridge manufacturing facility in Vaughan, Ont., where the first 1,000 Level 3 masks have been produced.
"Woodbridge, together with the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, has been working at an unprecedented pace to retool their factories and get the required approvals to manufacture masks for our front-line workers," the premier said in a statement.
"I was thrilled to see first-hand the fruition of their hard work and look forward to them ramping up production in the coming days to meet the demands of Ontario and soon other parts of the country."
The company hopes to eventually produce one million masks per week and have the product certified as N95 masks to be used in all health-care settings. Woodbridge will be making the masks at its facilities in Vaughan and Kitchener.
Ford has blamed supply shortages on a combination of delays in global shipments, domestic manufacturing lag time and U.S. restrictions.
Late Monday, manufacturer 3M reached a deal with the White House to continue sending masks to Canada, shortly after U.S. officials held up a shipment of 500,000 masks.
Ontario reported 379 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, including 21 more deaths.
That brings the totals in the province to 4,726 confirmed cases, including 153 deaths and 1,802 cases that have been resolved.
The new cases represent an 8.7 per cent increase over Monday, marking the second day in a row that the growth rate has been under 10 per cent.
There are at least 51 long-term care homes in Ontario with one or more cases of COVID-19, with a total of 850 reported cases, and there have been at least 69 deaths in those institutions.
About 45 per cent of all of the deaths in Ontario have been long-term care residents, according to government data.
There have been 27 deaths alone at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon -- more than a third of the facility's residents. Twenty-nine staff members have also been infected. Long-term care and retirement homes across the province have seen multiple residents die in COVID-19 outbreaks, including in Toronto, Oshawa, Sarnia, Hagersville, Hamilton and Woodslee.
There are now 614 people in Ontario hospitalized with COVID-19, with 233 of them in intensive care and 187 of those people on ventilators.
More than 500 health-care workers in the province have tested positive, representing about 11 per cent of all confirmed cases in Ontario.
There have also been 15 COVID-19 outbreaks reported in hospital settings.
Ontario appears to have completed about 2,500 tests in the past 24 hours, despite pledges that increased lab capacity would allow for at least 5,000 tests per day by this point.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 7, 2020.