By Letter to the Editor on April 1, 2020.
We keep hearing that there is a risk of hospitals running out of personal protective equipment (PPE). It is also true that the university, college and Lethbridge Research Centre are shut down. Similarily, many private businesses are shut down that would normally be using N95 masks and other personal protective equipment. Some of us may even have N95 or other PPE left over from personal projects. Essentially, there must be plenty of PPE in our city that people know they aren’t going to be using.
At the same time, our governments appear to be beginning to prepare to order industry to produce necessary equipment to deal with the virus. In some cases, industry itself is switching, but only after there is already a shortage. However, this will likely take some time, and may require a bridge.
Perhaps we could build that bridge by allowing people to share what they have: This would be better than just dropping it off at the hospital, because then health-care workers will be worried about contamination. There are people trained in microbiology in our city who would know how to handle equipment received and be able to judge if it is acceptable. The LRDC, U of L, and LC may have sterilization facilities as well.
I suppose it would be natural for city council to organize something like this, before there is a need.