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Even as planeloads of supplies to protect Canada’s medical workers arrive, many primary-care physicians say they are in the dark about when they’re going to get what they need to keep helping patients.

Global shortages of surgical masks and disposable N95 respirators have put Canadian medical workers under pressure to conserve what little they have left.

Despite those efforts, some say they are likely to run out.

“There are definitely some practices, if they haven’t already run out of (personal protective equipment) they will soon,” said Dr. Allan Grill, a family physician in Markham, Ont.

That could mean some clinics will be forced to stop seeing patients, Grill said, which would leave those patients with no choice but to report to emergency rooms or put off their care.

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Federal and provincial governments say they’ve left no stone unturned in their efforts to get more of the supplies into Canada, and shipments have started to arrive. Even so, some doctors have no idea when they’ll actually get their hands on them or how they’ll be allocated.

Supply stocks vary province to province,


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