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Jamie Harrison

Can your business help in the COVID-19 fight?

By: Harry Callaghan
Posted: March 26, 2020 04:05

The province is looking for materials and services

Image: Zsolt Szigetvary

The province is reaching out to businesses and their employees for products and supplies to help efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen says "The Manitoba government is working to contain and reduce the impact of COVID-19, and we're taking measures to bolster the health system with help from the private sector. We are soliciting for help to collect the supplies we need in order to guard Manitobans against COVID-19." 

As part of the ongoing battle against COVID-19, the province has, to date, invested emergency spending of almost $64 million in critical goods and services including personal protective equipment, ventilators, intravenous pumps and chest compression systems. 

The province has also introduced an online portal asking businesses to assist with supplying products and manufacturing what Manitobans need in Manitoba. 

Friesen says "To help us further our efforts, our government is reaching out to businesses and their employees for products and supplies and those willing to manufacture items from scratch to assist in our efforts in this fight against COVID-19. We recognize that dealing with this pandemic will be a marathon, not a sprint.  Support from Manitoba businesses with additional materials will ensure front-line staff have the equipment they need to protect themselves while continuing to provide exemplary care to patients throughout the province."

This initiative will remove barriers allowing Manitoba businesses and manufacturers to redeploy capacity towards the production of essential equipment like ventilators, masks and nasopharyngeal swabs.  

The province has also intensified the search for 10 chest compression systems, which provide additional safety as the equipment removes one staff member from the room. The equipment will be allocated across the province.

Products businesses can supply include:
o    N95 respirators,
o    surgical/procedure masks,
o    nitrile gloves,
o    vinyl gloves,
o    nasopharyngeal swabs,
o    specific types of reagent to be used in labs,
o    gowns,
o    hand sanitizer,
o    cleaning supplies, and
o    disinfecting supplies.

Services Manitobans can provide include:
o    guard/security services,
o    nursing services,
o    food services,
o    laundry services,
o    accommodation maintenance services,
o    personal services,
o    IT support services,
o    pet care services,
o    transportation services, and
o    consulting services.

"We are ahead of the curve and the goal remains to flatten it.  Manitobans are coming together to help each other and it's time for business to step up," said Friesen.  "We continue to remind Manitobans of these simple but critical and effective steps:  wash your hands, keep your distance and stay home."

The minister noted that in addition to today's business-focused website, the province created a new web application https://www.helpnextdoormb.ca/ to help those in need of assistance, postponed non-urgent eviction hearings, and will freeze rent increases.

"Manitoba's health-care system worked hard to prepare for COVID-19 and we are well-stocked with the items we need to keep Manitobans safe," said Friesen.  "However, we recognize that our supply chain may be impacted going forward in this challenging time.  Manitobans have many skill sets and resources, and we're encouraging you to help out our fellow Manitobans by proactively asking local vendors to consider producing or contributing supplies and services."

The form is available at https://www.covid19manitoba.ca/

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