What happened to 91,000 KN95 masks donated to Alberta teachers?

It’s been a year since an Edmonton company donated 91,000 KN95 masks to the Alberta school system.

“We have kids at school, so we wanted to get them in the hands of teachers. At that time there was a lack of supply of proper masks,” Terry Booth, CEO of Med PPE Canada said on Monday morning.

Now Med PPE Canada wants to know if they were given to teachers.

“We gave them the right number so that each teacher could have at least one, and school bus drivers and admin,” Booth said.

“If they are sitting in a warehouse somewhere that’s too bad. Let’s just move them.”

Booth acknowledges that it’s not easy to distribute that many masks, as they come in packages of ten.

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“You have to be careful when you open that package and how you distribute them, who’s going to be at the receiving end, what documentation is there. It’s not an easy process, but by now you’d think they’d be fully distributed,” Booth said.

READ MORE: Confused about masking up against Omicron? Here’s a guide

The Alberta Government confirmed on Sunday that it received the donation of 91,000 KN95 masks.

In a statement the acting press secretary for the Ministry of Education said the masks were “sent to school authorities in December 2020 and January 2021, with the expectation that they were distributed to individual schools.”

“Distribution to individual schools and staff was coordinated by each school authority,” the press secretary said via email.

Edmonton Catholic Schools said it received 516 packages of 10 of the KN95 masks.

A spokesperson said via email on Monday afternoon that the packs were made available to schools upon request and that all the masks were distributed by October 2021.

A spokesperson with Edmonton Public Schools said they weren’t able to provide information to Global News on Monday, but will continue to look into it on Tuesday.

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As the Omicron variant circulates, N95 and KN95 masks have become difficult to find in the Edmonton area.

READ MORE: N95 masks, rapid tests, still hard to come by in Edmonton

Friday evening, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw tweeted that she has received questions about mask use and whether she recommends universal use of N95 masks in public settings.

She wrote there is “no conclusive evidence that N95 masks provide sufficient additional benefit in these settings.”

“Using N95 masks is an option, but a well-fitting medical mask provides significant benefit,” Hinshaw said, repeating comments made earlier in the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Cloth masks provide some benefit but must be well-fitting and multi-layered, with at least one layer providing good filtration.”

Hinshaw said masks are one layer of protection against COVID-19. Others include staying distanced, avoiding crowded spaces, maximizing ventilation and reducing time spent with people outside one’s household.

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