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Canadian Medical Association calls for extraordinary measures to control COVID-19

Last Updated Apr 16, 2021 at 1:47 pm PDT

Health-care workers get ready to turn a COVID-19 patient in the ICU who is intubated and on a ventilator from her back to her stomach at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

CMA says feds should consider reprioritizing vaccine distribution to send doses to provinces in need over per-capita

Medical association calls for provinces to work collaboratively to address pandemic and impacts on healthcare

Sharing of resources and 'acting as one' is what's needed at this critical time, says Canadian Medical Association

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Canadian Medical Association is calling for extraordinary measures to get the COVID-19 situation under control, as some parts of Canada see a record number of new infections and hospitalizations.

This includes more restrictions, even in provinces that are not seeing the same spike as Ontario and Quebec. The CMA says provinces with lower COVID-19 transmission rates must preserve their status in order to support jurisdictions in dire circumstances.

“As the third wave of the pandemic wreaks havoc on the healthcare and public health systems, healthcare providers, and patients, we are at a critical juncture where a truly national approach to combatting COVID-19 will make the difference between more or fewer lives saved,” said Dr. Ann Collins, president of the CMA.

The group is calling for province-to-province collaboration, which includes the sharing of healthcare resources to help areas where capacity at ICUs has hit crisis levels.

It also wants to see the federal government consider re-prioritizing its vaccine distribution strategy in order to put a “focus on areas of urgent need as opposed to the per-capita approach adopted to date.”

“We act as one country when crisis hits with wildfires, floods and other tragedies. This pandemic has reached a new level that requires a national response,” said Collins. “We must do everything needed to avoid making unbearable choices as to who lives if resources are not available.”

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The CMA says Canada is also in dire need of an enhanced form of paid sick leave, deeming current programs “inadequate”.

It adds there are difficult decisions to make when it comes to balancing minimizing the risk of COVID-19 with the impact severe measures can have on society and economy.

“We are at a critical juncture in this response,” said the CMA, adding healthcare workers are “pleading for this unprecedented level of response” as the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms hospitals and communities.

“These are strong measures, but they are absolutely needed,” said Collins. “We are one country, and it’s time we started acting as one by deploying resources where they are most needed. If we can’t achieve this through voluntary cooperation, then more and stronger measures might be needed.”

The CMA’s urgent call came after the country set yet another record high number of new daily cases on Thursday.

As the third waves puts increasing pressure on our health care system, B.C. nurses are joining the Canadian Medical Association in calling for more government intervention to stop the spread of the virus.

B.C. Nurses Union president Christine Sorensen warns it’s not just about how many beds we have available for patients — and that care will be lowered or denied if there aren’t enough health care workers available.

“The public is not following the measures that are being put in place now because they are confusing and I think we need better communication, clearer communication and likely more stringent measures to reduce the spread,” said Sorensen.

Sorensen points out there are knock on consequences of this situation too — pointing out we’re already seeing the delays for some surgeries — and warns more procedures could be cancelled if we don’t stablize our virus situation.