As COVID-19 cases approach triple digits in Nova Scotia, the provincial government is turning to the private sector to answer a critical need for emergency supplies and services.

This week, it released a procurement call to businesses and organizations that can produce personal protective gear, hospital equipment and personnel for essential services, like food and laundry.

To be clear, said Premier Stephen McNeil, the government’s not asking for donations — it’s willing to pay.

“As you know, we’re part of the national procurement proposal,” he told reporters at a Wednesday press conference. “Some of the distilleries here in Nova Scotia are now making hand sanitizer, and at the same time we have a number of companies that are looking to retool here to make ventilators or gowns as part of that national movement.”

McNeil insisted the request to private businesses is not in anticipation of a current supply shortage in Nova Scotia hospitals.

The government is looking for hand sanitizer, disposable masks, gowns, hospital beds and ventilators, among other pandemic prevention products. It’s also looking for security guards, tech support workers, nurses, and cleaners.

Last but not least, the province says it’s looking for “innovative solutions” to support its response to the novel coronavirus — things like virtual mental health support, supply chain resiliency monitoring and financial planning advice for struggling small businesses.

It will also continue to make requests for supplies and services through the federal procurement program.

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“Government has ordered basic health-care items such as gloves, gowns, scrubs, and sanitizers in large quantities, as well as more specialized items,” wrote spokesperson Marla MacInnis.

“Although we have put in this order, we have adequate supplies to meet our current demand. We anticipate further opportunities to place orders through the federal procurement program.”

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