COVID-19: Doctors in Manitoba call for military aid, enforce medical order over holidays

A letter written by a Manitoba doctor is calling on the province to do more to ease the strain on hospitals and intensive care units due to COVID-19.

Obtained by CTV News on Monday, the letter, written by Dr Dan Roberts and signed by several ER doctors, asks the province for help from the Canadian Armed Forces to maintain ICU capacity and enforce strict enforcement. comply with public health orders.

“Our critical care services are failing,” the letter read. “Once again we will have to airlift patients to other provinces. Meanwhile, we cannibalize essential services to maintain ICU capacity.”

The letter adds that the current surgical backlog, estimated at 152,000 surgeries, has grown to levels unimaginable before the pandemic.

“There is no admission of preventable tragedies,” the letter read. “Thousands of people anxiously wait at home, hoping that their aneurysm will not burst before surgery, that their cancers will be diagnosed and treated before they become terminal, or that their multiple sclerosis will be evaluated and treated before they lose mobility and independence.”

Doctors say ICU staffing levels are being impacted as nurses quit and burnout is occurring, making further ICU capacity expansion impossible right now.

“If poor access to vital health services continues, we can expect more deaths than those directly caused by COVID-19,” the letter read.

Doctors want the province to work to reduce the number of cases by strictly implementing public health orders, especially in unvaccinated communities.

They also want rapid COVID-19 testing to be made widely available to schools and businesses, and holiday gatherings limited to family members.

The letter also calls for support from the Canadian Armed Forces to work in ICUs.

Wab Kinew, leader of the Manitoba NDP, said on Monday that the same group of doctors spoke out before the third wave, and a short time later, many Manitoba ICU patients were taken out of the province for care. squirrel.

“So this is a warning that we have to take very, very seriously,” he said. “That’s why we support their calls today and specifically ask the Manitoba government to ask the federal government to deploy troops here,” Kinew said.

Kinew pointed out that the request for military assistance should come from the Prime Minister’s office.

“And if the doctors on the front lines say we need this support now, then those at the political level who are overseeing the health care system have to act immediately,” Kinew said.

He said both short-term and long-term solutions are needed to address the staffing crisis in the health sector and that people have repeatedly expressed their concerns to the NDP about the state of the care system. provincial health.

“It tells us that we need to act now and calling on the military, asking for help so that the people of Manitobans can stay healthy, are among the steps needed at this time.”

In a statement, Manitoba Liberal Party Leader Dougald Lamont supported doctors’ call to do more in the fourth wave.

“We need free rapid tests, more immunizations in long-term care, strict enforcement of public health orders, and if the military expands its surgical capacity,” he said in a statement. ours, that’s what needs to happen. “We all have a role to play in fighting this pandemic and there are people who can’t pull their weight, including those in charge.”

CTV Winnipeg reached out to the province for suggestions.

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