Madam Minister, your mandate letter says one of the things you're supposed to do is to raise the bar on openness and transparency. In light of this, I want to ask you some very specific questions about preparedness for COVID-19, and it's open to anyone on the panel to answer the question.
I want to get back to Don Davies' point about ventilators. That's one of my major concerns as well, but let me just set up the scenario.
Dr. Tam has already told us the numbers are 6%, but let's say 5% of people get a very serious disease, perhaps needing an ICU. If we had an epidemic of 1,000 cases in a place like Thunder Bay, that's well less than 1% of our population. It's not that many really, but still with 1,000 cases that equals 50 people who might need ICU or a ventilator.
Thunder Bay hospital has 22 ventilators, which are always full. If we intubate someone in the emergency room, there's always an issue of whether there is an open ventilator in ICU to look after them. Apparently, because of the Critical Care Services Ontario program, which was put into place under H1N1, there are some backup ventilators, but that's four ventilators. We have 50 new cases that we want to put on a ventilator, so what are we going to do to ensure that people who need a ventilator have a ventilator?
To Don Davies' point, there are something like 5,000 ventilators in Canada, but the thing you have to remember is that those are probably 5,000 fully occupied ventilators. What's going to happen when we need more ventilators? Are there provisions, and what provisions are in place to potentially rapidly respond to a requirement for more ventilators?