Canada’s healthcare workers brace for the painful blow of a third wave of punishment

Chief intensivist Dr. Ali Ghafouri, second from left, meets his team in the intensive care unit at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

But many of Canada’s healthcare workers were telling anyone who wanted to listen that some provincial governments reopened too quickly after a tough wave after Christmas.

“So we’re stuck, where we have cases getting out of hand, hospitals completely full, insufficient vaccine supplies and months of difficult public health measures ahead of us,” said Dr Michael Warner, Director of Care. intensive at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, in an interview with CNN.

Provincial governments across the country are now counting with a damaging third wave of Covid-19, which could jeopardize the universal healthcare system that Canadians are so fiercely proud of.

From coast to coast, spanning thousands of miles and hundreds of hospitals, many provinces now anxiously watch the number of cases rise as worrying variants spread a more contagious virus to young Canadians and bring more people in the hospital.

And nowhere in Canada is the hospital situation more critical than in Ontario, the country’s most populous province.
“The government has not listened to scientists, it has not listened to epidemiologists, it has not listened to doctors other than their chief medical officer. And because they didn’t listen to the scientists, they thought they could trade. of this virus, but the virus is too strong, the variant is a different disease, ”Warner said, telling CNN on Friday that his intensive care unit was operating at 115% capacity.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford defended his actions Friday by announcing new restrictions, including extending a stay-at-home order until at least mid-May, banning gatherings in inside and outside and the restriction of non-essential travel within and outside the province.

During a press briefing on Friday, Ford insisted he had always acted on the basis of science, adding that in the case of the recent increase in intensive care admissions, he had drafted health policies. more stringent public “the second” he had discovered.

“Whatever we have in place, it will take time to take effect, so for now the trajectories of Covid increases are really set and I think the next 2 to 3 weeks for Ontario and Canada are going to be. very, very, difficult. Said Dr. Fahad Razak, who treats coronavirus patients at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Ontario once again broke new records for hospital and intensive care unit admissions on Saturday. Modeling released by the province’s expert advisory group, Frida, detailed a disastrous snapshot of the crisis already underway in hospitals and how the situation is likely to worsen.

“Notice that our hospitals can no longer function normally, they are exploding at their seams, we are setting up field hospitals and we are separating seriously ill patients from their families by helicoptering them across the province for treatment, our children’s hospitals are now admit adults as patients. This has never happened in Ontario before it has never happened in Canada before, ”said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Co-Chair of the Ontario Science Council.

Brown has been strikingly blunt about the worst-case scenario that could see Ontario rationing care, particularly finding intensive care spaces for patients, saying, “There may not be any. just not the possibility of placing them in these types of beds ”.

“We’ll be there, we’ll do our best, but I’m trained to save people, not to use a checklist to decide if people are going to live or die, but that’s where we’re headed and that’s my biggest fear and I think a lot of healthcare workers are beyond anger, I think we’re really sorry for the situation we’re in, ”Warner said.

Across Canada, except for its Atlantic provinces which have worked hard to create a “bubble” with some of the lowest Covid-19 incidence rates in all of North America, epidemiological data are alarming.

Health Canada reported a 35% increase in hospitalizations and a more than 20% increase in ICU admissions across Canada in the week ending April 11. Even more worrying, the mortality trend is concerning, with a 38% increase in deaths just last week.

Chief intensivist Dr. Ali Ghafouri, second from left, meets his team at the intensive care unit at Humber River Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Some public health professionals say many provinces have reopened too often, too soon. And in Ontario, many health care providers say that, given their scarcity in Canada, vaccines should have been allocated more quickly to marginalized and racialized communities.

In many of Canada’s largest cities, essential workers in factories, meat processing plants and distribution centers have suffered dangerous outbreaks.

Dozens of Ontario doctors have taken to social media to demand that these workers have safer working conditions and easy access to sick pay when they contract the virus or need to be tested.

Most provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, are starting to focus on these workplaces and community hot spots with mobile testing and vaccination clinics.

Some healthcare workers, however, are resigned to the idea that these programs were not put in place quickly enough to spare them and their patients from the ravages of a third wave, far worse than the first two. .

“It is clearly a crisis, we are in full crisis now, it is not in a week, we are there right now,” said Razak.


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