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CMA highlights three COVID priorities as second wave grips Canada

FILE - Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

CMA says there needs to be greater collaboration, new kind of leadership from governments in fight against COVID-19

In open letter, CMA head lists three areas that need to be prioritized as COVID-19 continues to grip Canada

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We need to regain control, support our most vulnerable, and come together like never before if we want to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the head of the Canadian Medical Association.

“This is not about politics — this is about people’s lives,” says CMA President Dr. Ann Collins, who penned an open letter outlining those three key recommendations.

“We’re really a long ways away from seeing … a positive outcome from vaccines. We still have a lot of work to do before that, we still need to get those numbers down.”

In her letter, she cites “tremendous obstacles” ahead that need to be overcome before we reach the metaphoric “light at the end of the tunnel.”

“It has become abundantly clear that we need greater collaboration and a new kind of leadership from all levels of governments,” the letter reads.

Collins’ suggested areas of focus begin with efforts to regain control of the situation.

“This virus is way ahead of us,” Collins explains in an interview with NEWS 1130 Thursday morning. “There’s a need for more stringent and sustained measures to suppress the number of COVID-19 cases.”

The second recommendation is around support for vulnerable people. Collins says it became clear in the spring, when the first shutdowns were implemented, that COVID-19 can be devastating to vulnerable populations.

“They need support. They need access to social supports so that they’re able to physically distance and self-isolate should they become infected with COVID. And also, as we’ve been saying all along, emergency support measures for long-term care facilities,” she says.

Given what she calls the “alarming” rise in new cases and deaths in recent weeks, Collins adds it’s clear certain measures aren’t working. She notes there’s a “patchwork of approaches” across Canada, leading to the CMA’s third area of focus outlined in her letter.

“Our ask is that there be a national approach to this, that there be federal leadership in bringing together governments so that there can be consistent and clear messaging,” she explains.

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Collins is urging Canadians to stay home as much as possible and to follow public health measures.

“They worked in the spring. Wear a mask, wash your hands. And so critical right now, as we move towards the holiday period, is to really limit your close contacts,” she says.

“We need a new kind of leadership from all levels of government … We have healthcare workers all across this country that are exhausted. Today (Thursday) is day 260 and they are concerned for their patients, they’re concerned for the system they work in, for themselves, for their families.”