Sask. NDP, doctors say COVID-19 military aid could have come sooner, call for restrictions

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Following news that the military would assist Saskatchewan in its COVID-19 response, the province’s doctors and the official opposition are saying they are grateful but more work needs to be done.

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On Friday night, Federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair announced on Twitter that the federal government had approved a request for assistance from the provincial government.

“The (Canadian Army) will provide the communities with the support they need to fight the pandemic,” the tweet said.

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Granthshala News contacted the Provincial Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) on Saturday, who said they had no further updates to add after the federal government’s announcement.

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A spokesman for the National Defense said they were ready to send six critical care nursing officers to help Saskatchewan’s ICU.

Federal help is welcome news for a Regina resident whose mother is in the ICU at Pasqua Hospital with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

“We are glad to hear that more help is coming because even though he is not a COVID patient, there are many others who are COVID related in the ICU. This, of course, affected her health care,” said Janine Taylor.

Taylor said his family still wonders if the help is specifically for COVID-19 patients and when it is expected to arrive in Saskatchewan.

“We appreciate that there is something coming now to help support those doctors and nurses who certainly see how overwhelmed they are right now,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s family was told earlier this week that her mother was a candidate to be relocated out of province.

The president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association said he was grateful that help was coming, but thought it could have come sooner.

“The way out of the pandemic is still vaccination, and we all hoped that we would have a high vaccination rate to reduce it, but we don’t,” said Dr. Eben Strydem.

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“We know that gaining proper immunity is a slow process from only two weeks after taking the second shot. So we need to rely on measures other than these to bring down the case count,” Strydem said.

While Strydom feels that the additional help and out-of-province transfers will help the health care system, he said the challenge lies in dealing with all other procedures and consultations that were put on hold to deal with COVID-19 patients.

“We need to do a lot to account for (a) impact on the caseload, the impact on our health system, to try and get back to being like a normal where we can take care of our patients… And provide a level of care that we should be able to.”

During a COVID-19 technical briefing on Friday, Dr Saqib Shahab said that although this is not a public health order, he would advise fully vaccinated people to meet with the same compatible group and wear masks even indoors. give.

Shahab said one thing he is recommending, and that the government should consider, is to implement all equipment such as proof of vaccination and masking in all settings, not just in the public health system.

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Strydom agrees that these tools should be expanded to fit other settings.

Dr. Alex Wong also echoed the need for further public health restrictions.

Wong said, “Our inability to implement some of those temporary public health measures inevitably means that people who continue to be infected with COVID and those who continue to flow into our hospitals, they will continue to be infected. Won’t stop.”

Sask. NDP leader Ryan Meili said it should never have reached this point.

“We should never have found ourselves in a situation where the fourth wave is hitting us so hard,” Millie said.

“This is the result of inaction on the part of Scott Moe and his government.”

Millie said federal help is a necessary step, but it should have been done weeks ago.

“You think about the impact, it’s not just the ICU. The impact is where we’ve canceled organ transplants. Children’s treatment is being canceled. Hundreds of surgeries are being canceled a day,” Millie said.

“We can’t go down this road. We need a ban immediately and we need this help from the federal government.

Millie also expressed disappointment over not getting information from the provincial government.

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“How did we come to know about (federal aid) from a tweet by the prime minister? How we learned that ICU patients were being sent to Ottawa, Ontario doctors tweet. Nothing from our own government,” said Millie.

Mellie is also concerned about a concert to be held at the Saskatel Center on Saturday night, which is expected to be attended by between 13,000 and 14,000 fans.

While a proof of vaccination and a negative test policy will apply as well as a mask mandate, Meili doesn’t think it’s the right time to gather in a large crowd.

“This is a time where we should reduce the size of gatherings to less than 100, not thousands.”

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