The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is calling on the Province to step it up when it comes to supplying nurses with personal protective equipment (PPE).
Vicki McKenna, president of the ONA, has suggested Ontario should take a similar approach to Quebec when it comes to PPE for health care workers—Quebec has mandated nurses require airborne protection when in proximity of confirmed or possible COVID-19-infected patients.
“ONA’s 68,000 front-line members – and health-care workers in general – have been put at risk of contracting COVID-19 since the beginning of this pandemic, with tragic results,” McKenna said in a news release.
“One of our RNs has died, and many have been sickened, as have far too many other health-care workers who were inadequately protected while doing their best to provide care for Ontarians. ONA has been calling for Ontario to adopt the precautionary principle in protecting workers from COVID-19 for more than a year. We cannot wait any longer. Health-care workers are continuing to be put at risk,” she continued.
Additionally, as of February 11, Quebec’s workplace safety board has recommended that, in order to adequately protect health-care workers, respirators should be worn in areas where there is a risk of exposure to the virus—something McKenna believes should be adopted in Ontario.
“ONA is outraged that the Chief Medical Officer of Health and this government have yet to recognize the need to err on the side of caution and proactively mandate a higher level of PPE to protect against airborne transmission, despite the evidence and our repeated calls. Those working in our health-care system have been infected with this coronavirus at too high a rate. Is it any wonder our members are burnt-out and suffering unbearable levels of stress?” she said.