The Ontario government says up to approximately 3,250 ventilators are ready to be deployed across Ontario in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

During a media update Friday afternoon, Ontario health officials outlined the province’s current state of health care facilities and equipment.

There has been a movement to build up the province’s supply of ventilators, which are mechanical health devices that deliver oxygen to those who have problems breathing. A lack of those devices has been a major issue in treating patients with COVID-19 in countries such as Italy.

READ MORE: 967 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, province now at 18 deaths

Officials said up to 3,250 ventilators, which are ready to be deployed, come from a number of sources such as those used day-to-day in hospitals, anesthesia machines that double as ventilators, machines stockpiled during the SARS and H1N1 outbreaks and there’s a request for an allotment out of the federal government’s national emergency stockpile.

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The government has an existing order of 340 new ventilators and another 460 machines are being ordered. Forty of those new devices have arrived.

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Dr. Kevin Smith, the president and CEO of the University Health Network in Toronto, said at this point, the biggest challenge comes down to medical technology and the willingness of residents to practice things like physical and social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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