The Canadian Medical Association has made their stance clear on what they believe to be the inadequate handling of the fourth wave of COVID-19 by the Saskatchewan Government.
Dr. Katherine Smart, president of the Canadian Medical Association and former Swift Current resident, said that the handling of the fourth wave by the Saskatchewan government is alarming.
“I think it's really disturbing what's happening right now from the government in Saskatchewan,” Dr. Smart stated. “You know, it's quite clear that they have picked a direction they're going and they're unwilling to listen to all the experts around them that are telling them it's not working. You know we've seen physicians in Saskatchewan speaking out to the government since as early as August, warning them of where they were headed.”
Dr. Smart states that the Saskatchewan government, based on their own modelling, shouldn’t expect to see improvement until January or February at the earliest.
In the statement, she also elaborates on the effect this has taken on endless Saskatchewan residents.
“We're hearing from positions that are on the front lines, just how overwhelmed the hospitals are, that they're not able to provide the standard of care they would normally provide in ICU, and this is impacting anybody in Saskatchewan who might need healthcare,” Dr. Smart stated. “And so many people have already been impacted by having their surgeries cancelled, other procedures cancelled.”
Dr. Smart states that she believes the Saskatchewan government is not listening to the needs of Saskatchewan residents.
“I think the government is really tone deaf to what's going on,” she said. “They're not hearing what citizens are trying to tell them. They're certainly not listening to health care professionals, and I think it's really scary where this is headed.”
In order to see a change, Dr. Smart believes that people need to continue to speak out, continuing to advocate and write to MLA’s and the Premier about the fact that they are not satisfied.
She also believes that the province will not see significant progress until the vaccination rate is sitting at about 90%.
“The numbers need to be a lot higher than what they are at the moment and that we need to not have large pockets where people are vaccinated because delta variants going to find those groups and it's going to infect,” Dr. Smart stated.
In the statement, Dr. Smart acknowledged that misinformation has had a hand in the hesitancy of Saskatchewan residents to receive the vaccine.
“Questions are important,” she said. “People should ask questions. We want to be prepared to answer them and we want people to know, you know, it's okay to come to your health care provider with uncertainty. We're there to answer the questions and help you and we don't want anyone to feel that they can't do that, and I think that's the best way we can combat misinformation is by being open, available, and ready with the actual facts.”
As for the Federal government, Dr. Smart said that she believes they are doing everything that they can to combat the fourth wave.
“The federal government is doing what it can to try to put in place programs that will impact around COVID, or at least encourage people to be vaccinated,” she stated. “But they don't have a lot of ability to influence the provincial governments in terms of what they choose to do in that public health space, and I think that's partly why we've seen Saskatchewan and Alberta both struggling so hard, as both provinces have premiers that are very much headed on in a certain direction and have not really been willing to listen to health care professionals. And now unfortunately it's the citizens that are paying the price for those decisions.”