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Northern Ontario producers stepping up for hand sanitizer production

Operations in Kenora, Sudbury, and the Sault join others in manufacturing efforts

More Northern Ontario enterprises have been moved to produce hand sanitizer as a way to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In Sault Ste. Marie, staff in the insect protection and quarantine laboratories at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre (GLFC) have produced a batch of hand sanitizer for local health authorities, including the Sault Area Hospital and the Group Health Centre.

The group started its work on March 21, at first producing 160 litres, 100 of which have been delivered to the Group Health Centre.

To date, the lab has made 350 litres to provide free of charge to the two health centres, which have been identified “at high risk of exposure to COVID-19,” according to a news release from the centre.

“We have also been able to supply hand sanitizer to the local hospice (ARCH), to the Women in Crisis Centre, and to local food banks and homeless shelters,” the release noted.

“These places operate on donations and do not have the budget to restock under the current crisis. Like the hospitals, these agencies are struggling to find ways to replenish their supply.”

The centre said it was working with the local Algoma Public Health Unit to identify where the “greatest needs and risks are in the community.”

In Kenora, Lake of the Woods Brewing has partnered with Lake of the Woods Sunrise Soap Company to manufacture 21 litres of hand sanitizer to help efforts in that community.

It was donated to the Kenora OPP detachment, and the brewery said more is on the way.

“The officers have been out of sanitizer for some time now and we hope this goes a long way in helping our entire community get through this,” the brewery noted on its Facebook page.

“Let’s do all we can to help all be healthy who can’t self isolate. Stay safe folks, those that can (almost everybody) stay home.”

A staff member at Laurentian University also pumped out a quantity of hand sanitizer, getting a shoutout on Twitter from the Sudbury school.

Eric Gauthier, a chemistry professor at Laurentian, whipped up three batches of hand sanitizer, which will be donated to the Greater Sudbury Police Service.

Private and public enterprises across the North have been adapting their production lines to produce hand sanitizer, which has been in short supply since the onset of COVID-19.

Crosscut Distillery in Sudbury started making hand sanitizer in small batches just last week, while Rheault Distillery in Hearst expects its production line to get up and running early next week.


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