Ottawa prepared to assist Sask. battle COVID-19 surge, federal health minister says

Federal health minister Patty Hajdu says Ottawa is able to assist Saskatchewan deal with its COVID-19 surge, nevertheless it stays unclear whether or not the province will formally ask for help.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Saskatchewan proceed to climb, which have prompted plenty of disruptions within the province’s health-care system, together with the halting of the organ donation program and most cancers remedies.

In a tweet on Friday, Hajdu mentioned she spoke with Saskatchewan health minister Paul Merriman and “ensured he knows that the federal government will be there to help the people of Saskatchewan in this health crisis. We stand ready to help wherever we are needed.”

Hajdu informed CBC News on Sunday that Saskatchewan has not but formally requested federal support however that “we’ll be ready as soon as they trigger that request.”

The federal government has mentioned it will pitch in after Alberta requested for assist with airlifting COVID-19 sufferers, ICU-registered nurses and respiratory therapists.

Hajdu didn’t say whether or not she or Merriman initiated the decision on Friday.

“I was very interested in reconnecting with the ministers in particular with some of the provinces that are seeing the kinds of health-care crises that we’re seeing in the west and certainly with the provinces that are having increased caseloads,” Hajdu mentioned.

“Mr. Merriman and I have had a very good working relationship. So the meeting, I think, was appreciated by both of us.”

Contact tracers, health-care staff

Hajdu says some helps are already in place, resembling funding for protected isolation websites and 63 federal contact tracers. She mentioned the “real crunch” is for the feds and the province to plan forward to ship extra nurses, docs and other specialists to step in if the speed of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to rise. 

Hajdu says Merriman agreed that his crew might conduct modelling to find out if and when they would wish these sorts of extra help. 

“Health human resources across the country are stressed and so I reminded the minister that we’ll be there to help everyone across the country as much as possible and whenever, whenever it’s needed,” Hajdu mentioned.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is planning to surge to 175 ICU beds — up from the conventional variety of 79 — in an effort to look after a projected 125 COVID-19 sufferers needing intensive care within the coming weeks. 

CBC News reached out to the provincial government asking if it will formally request assist from Ottawa, however didn’t hear again instantly.

The Saskatchewan NDP has referred to as on the province to look into all obtainable help choices for Saskatchewan’s health-care system, together with the Canadian army, the civil service or assist from other provinces.

Saskatchewan reported three new COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, 552 new cases and 281 people in hospital with the illness. 

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