With a shortage of masks for healthcare workers in Niagara and Ontario, Vineridge Academy has been pitching in to help.
Jade Winterbottom, who has been at the international school since the beginning, says more than 10,000 masks have already been distributed. Most have gone to hospitals in the Toronto area, but some have been donated locally as well.
“Everyone is in need, and the demand is high,” says Winterbottom.
“We hear we’re nearly out in the Niagara Region as well as in town,” she says — some have already been distributed to the NOTL Fire & Emergency Services, and to the Niagara Medical Clinic across the street from the school.
Last week, the Town’s fire department accepted a donation of 500 surgical masks from Dr. Rebecca Zabek-Clark and Dr. Kevin Clark, from Niagara-on-the-Lake Dental.
Fire Chief Nick Ruller says the masks come at a critical time, helping to supply frontline workers during airway management procedures.
Friday, he and Deputy Chief Darren Trostenko were picking up 250 more masks from Vineridge.
The school is Chinese-
owned, with a large number of students from China. They are accustomed to wearing masks outdoors as part of their
culture, even when they’re not sick. Many of the students have returned home, and those who are left at the school are not going out. They are following strict rules of isolation and physical distancing as everyone else in town, so the school had a supply greater than what was needed, says Winterbottom.
The students in residence have staff onsite 24/7, she says, with teachers who are at home, teaching their students online.
Vineridge still has a limited number of masks, she says, to be distributed by the school where needed, Winterbottom says.
The need for masks gives Vineridge the opportunity to do something positive in the community, and help out where needed, she says.
The original 10,000 were the N95 masks most valued by front-line workers. The ones available now will be surgical masks, which are also in short supply.
She is hoping local long-term care homes, and health care workers, will reach out if they need masks. She can be reached at 905-329-8936.