More than 200 N-95 masks were donated to Williams Lake front-line workers in need of personal protective equipment by West Fraser.

West Fraser Lumber mill donated its small quantity of N95 masks for employee operational health and safety requirements last week.

“We are in unprecedented times and are aware of the pressing need to support the equipment needs of front-line health professionals,” spokesperson Tara Knight said.

“Mayor Walt Cobb made a request our mill was able to donate additional inventory beyond expected operational needs that could be given to front-line workers in need of personal protective equipment.”

Cobb told MyCaribooNow that he had spoken with the management at West Fraser Lumber who told him they were going to have to curtail sawmill operations for one week effective March 30.

“They asked if there is anything we needed with how things were going, all sorts of things, and I indicated that we had learned that not only the ambulances but the hospitals were becoming short of masks. They said oh I think we might have some, so we’ll check our inventory and we’ll let you know,” Cobb said.

“Sure enough they checked their inventory and I said make sure it’s something you’re not going to need, anyway they gave us three cases of masks.”

The masks according to Cobb were delivered to BC Ambulance Service and Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

“It was great,” he said. “They also indicated that maybe we should talk to some of the other organizations in town like the mines and whatnot if we got a shortage because they quite often have particularly the masks and safety equipment. So that was great, that was really appreciated.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Cobb said he remains concerned that some people are not adhering to physical distancing and staying at home. He added because the Cariboo Memorial Hospital has not been identified as one of the 19 major B.C. hospitals that will serve as a primary COVID-19 facility to deliver care to the most critically ill patients, he is concerned that could lead to other centers getting more equipment than we are.

“I’m just hoping that we’re going to be able to supply our doctors and nurses with what they need to not only be safe but take care of patients if we should happen to have a worst-case scenario,” he said.

West Fraser Knight said hopes these additional masks make a positive difference to the hardworking team at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.