After starting an operation aimed at selling more than 1.04 million N95 anti-particle masks, Quebec has changed tack and now wants to “find other applications” for it, while the battle against the virus continues.
The Center for Government Acquisition (CAG), which is responsible for tenders for various ministries, recently published a notice for the sale of batches of medicinal products used for protection.
Among the products available are N95 masks, which proved to be a rare commodity at the start of the pandemic, medical masks, disposable gowns, dry wipes, gloves as well as sachets and tens of thousands of bottles of sanitizer.
In response to a question from TVA Nouvelles, CAG management confirmed that more than one million N95 anti-particle masks were already available for purchase, despite the fact that health system personnel were still encountering the Omicron variant.
In the evening, the press secretary of the Minister of Health Christian Dube, Marjorie Cote Boelau, noted on Twitter that these N95 masks were “not medical grade”, to explain the decision. She also asserted that MSSS “considers that they can find other applications”.
“This is the reason why MSSS is asking for it to be withdrawn,” she wrote.
Interested individuals and companies had until January 14 to bid for the popular N95 masks. They can still do this for other products. The shares will be awarded to the bidder with the highest stake, and one can read into a document from the CAG.
All products available in the request for tenders since purchased are stored in a warehouse in Montreal. They are still good.
For N95 masks against particulate matter, the expiration date is March 2026. The government planned to dispose of 163 sets of 6,400 N95 masks. For medical masks, Quebec plans to sell more than 288,000 units. The expiration date for these products is June 2022.
Yesterday, Eric Gingras, president of the Centrale des union du Québec, said he was surprised to see Quebec wanted to sell N95 masks when so many deals required more protection.
“Could it be possible for those who ask for it to have masks?” We were told no, it’s too complicated. We hear among the branches that we want to keep them for health. […] It’s normal, but when you see it, you wonder,” he said.
Reagan Leclerc, the former head of hospital admissions for the CSN Consortium of Health and Social Services (FSSS-CSN), was also concerned about the decision.
“We believe that as a precaution, we should keep any kind of material that is meant to protect workers until we get out of this hurricane epidemic,” he said.
– In cooperation with QMI
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