Pandemic response must be refocused
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/11/2020 (924 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Here we are. The expected second wave of COVID-19 has crashed upon Manitoba shores in earnest.
It’s hard to believe we are in the situation we’re in after essentially escaping COVID-19 infections in the first wave. Going forward, we now know we need a proper, updated inventory of personal protective equipment so we don’t put our nurses, health care aides, doctors, homecare workers, teachers, students and seniors at greater risk than necessary. Chances are we’ll see another pandemic down the road.
Today, health care workers are exhausted and working mandatory overtime to make up for staff shortages, rationing their supplies and re-using PPE. Hopefully, by the time you read this, our numbers will be much better.
However, we can look back now and see the Pallister government didn’t focus enough on strengthening our health care and education systems and protecting our seniors.
As of mid-November, we had the highest test-positivity rate in Canada and our hospitals’ intensive-care units were nearing full capacity. We need real leadership and a more proactive approach, especially on meaningful protections for long-term care residents in privately run personal care homes who have suffered disproportionately. British Columbia was able to do this. Why couldn’t we?
It’s a tragic feature of this pandemic that one infected person can cause an outbreak. Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin recently reported a case of one infected person having 83 contacts.
The government needs to refocus its pandemic response by fixing our long-term care home system by ending for-profit care homes in Manitoba and hiring more staff for more direct hours of care. We need more mandatory in-person inspections of these facilities, too; and we need quality PPE for all frontline workers. It’s never too late.
We must move quickly on all these things because lives and livelihoods are at stake.
If you have questions, please free to give me a call at 204-415-1122, or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you.
Elmwood constituency report
Jim Maloway is the NDP MLA for Elmwood.