CORONAVIRUS UPDATE FOR SVALBARD FOR MONDAY: Masks donated by Store Norske to Tromsø hospital ‘do not protect well enough,’ food and book deliveries, and more

An effort by Store Norske to be generous by donating thousands of face masks from its now idle coal mines to a Tromsø hospital with a critical shortage need has come to an unfortunately ending as the masks are inadequate for medical staff besieged by the coronavirus pandemic, Norwegian media reported Monday.

The boxes of dust masks are stamped 3M, but because they’re from China may be pirated and Store Norske acknowledged the quality was not certain of the 9,000 masks, 6,000 of which were sent to The University Hospital of Northern Norway about three weeks ago, according to Verdens Gang.

“”It’s an incredibly sad case,” Grethe Andersen, the university’s operations and property manager, told the newspaper. “We are afraid that the masks do not protect well enough against the virus.”

Hospital officials tried to contact 3M after the shipment arrived, but were unable to get a response until recently.

“Store Norske stated that some of the equipment had a minor manufacturing defect,” Andersen noted. “Therefore most of the consignment was driven to a warehouse outside the hospital.”

But according to NRK, which first reported the story, it appears about 700 were given out to health care staff inadvertently.

All 150-200 staff at the hospital are now being tested for the coronavirus, according to NRK.

In other local coronavirus announcements/events today:

Svalbard Delivery Service is open from 4 p.m.-midnight with a delivery fee of 49 kroner.

Longyearbyen Library’s book taxi will be offering deliveries of custom requests or “surprise packages” from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Requests should be submitted by 2 p.m. the day of delivery.