Recalled masks were used by 220 city staff at two Toronto long-term care homes
TORONTO -- Face masks recalled by the City of Toronto were used by more than 200 workers at two Toronto long-term care homes, including one where 16 residents have died of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the city recalled 200,000 surgical masks after reports of "ripping and tearing" in the product. The order of 4,000 boxes containing 50 masks per box was received on March 28, of which 62,500 masks (or 1,252 boxes) were distributed to the city’s long-term care homes.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said Wednesday that approximately 220 city workers used the masks in two long-term care facilities.
A spokesperson for the city confirmed yesterday that the masks were sent to Seven Oaks long-term care home, Kipling Acres long-term care home and Lakeshore Lodge long-term care home. The masks were not used Lakeshore Lodge long-term home.
Sixteen patients who resided at Seven Oaks long-term care home have died of the virus, officials confirmed on Wednesday.
"As I advised yesterday, immediately upon becoming aware of the issues with surgical masks we took action and recalled them," Pegg said speaking about the defective masks. "We also initiated a full occupational health and safety investigation to insure any potential impacts to both our staff and residents are understood and mitigated effectively."
"While this investigation remains ongoing, preliminary results indicate that these masks were used in two long-term care homes by approximately 220 city staff."
The city says that the masks that were manufactured in China are being returned and that the vendor has committed to a full refund.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said the province has committed to providing 200,000 replacement masks to ensure the city has enough personal protective equipment.
"On behalf of all of us in Toronto, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Premier Ford and to the Ontario Public Service Team for moving so quickly to come to our assistance," Tory said.
"It's another example of the good cooperation between the city of Toronto and province of Ontario as we work together to do everything we can to help people during this emergency."
The city says that as a result of the recall, it is undertaking a quality control review of its supply chain.