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Sask. doctors, nurses say current COVID-19 restrictions 'not enough'

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SASKATOON -

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) and the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) are demanding stronger action by the provincial government to blunt the fourth wave of the pandemic.

“Mask mandates and vaccination requirements are essential but are not enough against the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant,” SMA president Dr. Eben Strydom said in a news release.

“With the approach of colder weather, gatherings will move indoors, creating the potential for surges in cases.”

He says reinstating gathering limits on indoor private functions and community events will help mitigate the fourth wave.

The SMA and SUN say record-high COVID-19 case numbers are exhausting health-care workers and straining hospital capacity to the limits and are “imploring” the government to enact the following three measures:

  • A reinstatement of limits on indoor gatherings for both private and public events.
  • Daily, community-level public reporting that indicates percentage of population who are partially and fully vaccinated by age groups as well as case counts, hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
  • Sufficient contact tracing with appropriately trained staff to ensure rapid case detection and to limit community spread. The groups say too much of this critical function is being left in the hands of those who test positive for COVID-19.

Strydom said the absence of local information makes the job of a physician much more difficult in the best of times, let alone in the midst of a pandemic.

SUN President Tracy Zambory said in the release that without indoor gathering limits, COVID-19 will spread and people will die.

“Registered nurses are disheartened to see preventable hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. They are upset. They are weary. I have heard their stories borne of anger, frustration, and fear for their patients. The government cannot ignore the pleas of the province’s health care community any longer.”

Zambory said the health system risks being overwhelmed within weeks.

“We are at a critical moment in this fourth wave. We have already had to make heartbreaking decisions on cancelling surgeries and suspending organ donations.”

The SMA and SUN also want more transparency from a government they say has resisted making public its modelling of COVID-19 projections.

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