Doctors don’t know when masks are coming, despite deliveries arriving in Canada

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OTTAWA — Some primary-care doctors say they still have no certainty when they will get much-needed protective equipment to protect them from COVID-19 and they are starting to run critically low on supplies.

Surgical masks and disposable N95 respirators are in highest demand, but doctors who are typically responsible for ordering their own protective equipment say suppliers are bereft of stock.

While the federal and provincial governments have announced plans to acquire more supplies, several doctors say they have no idea when they’ll actually get their hands on them, or how they’ll be allocated.

Without adequate supply, they say they will have to close their clinics, leaving patients needing in-person care to go to emergency rooms or do without.

Ontario Medical Association president Dr. Sohail Gandhi says it can be especially upsetting when doctors see medical-grade masks on members of the public picking up groceries.

The government says it has received shipments of 17 million surgical masks so far and expects a total of two million N95 respirators will be delivered to provinces by the end of the week.