WINGHAM ONT. -- Requests for masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer have gone out through large parts of Ontario, but especially rural Ontario, as smaller hospitals prepare for an expected influx of COVID-19 patients.

There’s also a call for more hospital workers. Everything from housekeeping and cleaning staff to nurses.

“We have to plan for both absences and an influx of patients, so it’s a double whammy for us to deal with,” says Karl Ellis, the CEO of the Wingham-Listowel Hospital’s Alliance. They recently posted for several jobs in their two hospitals.

In Clinton and Chesley, lack of staff has led to the closure of the emergency rooms in both communities in the overnight hours.

As far as the shortage of PPEs (personal protective equipment) that some on the front lines have called “critical,” and are detailing “rationing” of supplies, Ellis concedes there are constraints on the supply of masks and gloves right now.

That’s why they’re asking for everything the community can spare to prepare for a worst case scenario. “In the early days of this we want to make sure we set up good practices to preserve it, so we have the appropriate protective equipment in the days ahead,” he says.

At Alexandra Hospital in Ingersoll, they are in desperate need of PPEs such as hand sanitizer and N95 masks.

Hospital officials are hoping members of the public can help by donating items.

The hand sanitizer needed must have at least 70 per cent alcohol and preferably be foam.

Other items required are nitrile gloves, Level 2 disposable isolation gowns, surgical masks and shield masks.

Officials hope that closed businesses may have these items in store rooms and can assist them.

If you can make a donation, contact Robin Schultz at 519-485-1700, ext. 8213 or at

Other area hospitals are also requesting help to find more equipment.