New ventilators promised in days as industrial response to COVID-19 kicks in

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OTTAWA — Hundreds of ventilators are now in production as part of the federal government’s efforts to shore up national stockpiles of crucial equipment needed to fight COVID-19.

Thornhill Medical, a Toronto-based company, says it’s making 500 ventilators that will arrive at hospitals and health-care facilities in early April.

The company is one of three signed up by the federal government on March 20 to produce critical goods. Two others are also at work, one making masks and another developing rapid COVID-19 test kits.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the government has signed letters of intent with five other companies to also produce equipment.

Overall, the government has spoken to 3,000 different firms, he said.

But how much gear the country will need is up to Canadians themselves, Trudeau said.

“We will need more masks, ventilators and testing kits, but how many more we need depends entirely on you,” Trudeau said.

“If you stay home and follow public health recommendations, you can slow the spread.”

Ventilators are considered crucial as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and in severe cases can make impossible for people to breathe on their own.

Thornhill Medical said it has teamed up with manufacturing company Linamar to make the ventilators.

“We are honoured to provide our Canadian-made ventilator system to support Canadians and our health-care system in its efforts to fight COVID-19,” said Lesley Gouldie, the company’s CEO, in a statement.