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Half of the city's surgical mask inventory recalled after being found defective: Fire Chief

Last Updated Apr 7, 2020 at 5:02 pm EST

The City of Toronto has recalled over 62,000 masks distributed to long-term care homes after they were deemed to be defective.

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said the defective masks represented about half of the city’s surgical mask inventory.

The masks, which Pegg said were made in China, were received on March 27 and distributed to long-term care homes the next day.

“After receiving reports of these masks ripping and tearing, a further inspection of the masks determined (they) did not meet the city’s standards,” Pegg explained.

“Immediately upon becoming aware of this situation we took action and recalled the masks.”

Pegg said the city is now conducting an investigation into how many employees may have used the masks and if any of them risked possible exposure to COVID-19.

He added that the vendor will provide a full refund on the masks, which were valued at over $200,000.

In the meantime, the city is facing a sudden and significant inventory drain.

Pegg said at current levels the city only has enough masks to last two to three weeks.

Officials have contacted the province to expedite the order of new masks.

In a release, the city said it will implement new, stringent quality control reviews of any new masks purchased.

“All future orders of personal protective equipment will be subject to heightened verification to ensure the products it receives meet the specifications ordered.”