Federal government prepared to help Saskatchewan battle COVID-19 fourth wave
The federal government is prepared to help Saskatchewan battle its fourth wave of COVID-19.
In a tweet on Friday, the federal health minister Patty Hajdu confirmed she spoke with provincial health minister Paul Merriman and “ensured he knows the federal government will be there to help the people of Saskatchewan in this health crisis.”
“We stand ready to help wherever we are needed,” the tweet read.
While the federal government is ready to help, Hajdu reminded Merriman it takes time to deploy these resources, and that equipment is easier to ship out than healthcare workers.
“It depends on the resourcing needs of Saskatchewan, which is why it’s so critical that the province be looking ahead to what they anticipate they’ll need as they try to deal with the surge,” said Hajdu in a phone interview.
She said the province has yet to make any official requests.
Merriman’s office did not respond to an interview request, and the health minister last took open questions from the media one month ago.
CTV News did obtain a letter from the minister to Hajdu.
“I want to thank you for extending the offer that you have made in terms of federal assistance if the province of Saskatchewan requires it,” reads the letter from Merriman.
“At this time, we have expanded the capacity in our acute and intensive care units in order to address pressures we are experiencing, and we will to continue to use the federal resources that have always been in place to complement those efforts.”
Merriman did, however, request expedited approval for rapid tests and distribution of antibody therapies.
The offer from Ottawa comes as Saskatchewan continues to break COVID-19 records. On Sunday the province recorded more than 550 new cases, its highest new daily case count since the start of the pandemic. Those cases pushed the province to an all-time high of 4,864 active cases.
Dr. Alex Wong, an infectious disease specialist, said this wave feels different than others.
“People are just so sad and regretful they’re asking for the vaccine, they’re begging for the vaccine,” said Wong.
Wong said the next two weeks will be critical in determining where the curve is headed, adding the biggest challenge will be healthcare staffing. He agreed with the federal minister that a proactive approach to securing resources is the way to go.
"In no way shape or form do I think we’re even close to getting out of this," Wong said.
"We need to have some consistent messaging in place about where we’re at right now and how dire the situation is."
Wong is calling on the province to introduce short, immediate measures to cut down transmission. He said those calls don't include lockdowns, but rather limits on gathering sizes and expanding contact tracing.
The official opposition has previously called on Premier Scott Moe to formally ask Ottawa for help.
The NDP says it’s time for the province to consider bringing in the Canadian military to help in many ways like contact tracing, testing and on the frontlines.
Last Wednesday, the province said it is in regular contact with the federal government about the pandemic response. While it has asked for additional rapid test kits, there have been no other requests for federal support.
Regina Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The U.S. says it will allow Canadians into the country who have received a mixed COVID-19 vaccine schedule, when the U.S. opens its borders to fully vaccinated travellers on Nov. 8.
Military police say they are investigating 'historic' allegations of sexual misconduct involving yet another senior commander, this time the officer responsible for human resources in the Canadian Armed Forces.
The City of Iqaluit says testing shows a high concentration of fuel in a tank that supplies water to the Nunavut capital.
Martin Gregus of Vancouver won the Rising Star Portfolio Award at the Natural History Museum’s 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for his summertime photos of polar bears.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his government is finalizing its plans to exit the final stage of its reopening plan in order to 'cautiously lift more public health measures' currently in place.
A long-serving member of Parliament was stabbed to death Friday during a meeting with constituents at a church in England, in what police said was a terrorist incident. A 25-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack, which united Britain's fractious politicians in shock and sorrow.
Starting Nov. 8, the United States will be opening its land and sea border to non-essential fully vaccinated Canadian travellers for the first time since March 2020. Here's what we know so far.
Canadians will be electing more MPs across the country as soon as 2024, as the House of Commons seat count is going to be increasing from 338 to 342. While most provinces' seat counts remain unchanged, Alberta will be gaining the most new ridings, while Quebec will be losing one.
A two-year-old’s death in central Alberta has been ruled a homicide.
Saskatoon Police Service is investigating a shooting that took place Friday afternoon.
The provincial government has given a rough timeline for when vaccines for children between ages 5 and 11.
Nov. 8 is the tentative date for the United States government to reopen its land and sea borders to non-essential fully vaccinated Canadian travellers.
Family members who have loved ones living at two personal care homes in the Southern Health region tell CTV News they have been given the heads-up they may need to help with care starting next week.
There are renewed calls to ensure the safety of Indigenous women taking taxis in Winnipeg.
The majority of direct care workers in Manitoba are fully vaccinated, according to Shared Health.
In an update from the Calgary Police Service on Friday afternoon, police said they have a suspect in custody after four people were injured in random attacks early Friday.
Jan Damery is running for mayor. But some people apparently aren't happy about it.
Hospitalizations remain high but continue to trend downward with 1,000 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 229 in intensive care units.
A bakery south of Edmonton was still cooking Friday - despite a provincial closure order - and owner Jen Foster said it was her busiest day ever.
The frontrunner candidates for mayor all agree downtown Edmonton still needs work as they placed bets on how best to improve the core in the final week before the vote.
An Ontario couple sued because they wrote a bad online review about a window company have been awarded more than $166,000 after a judge found they were bullied over it.
The Ontario government has launched its COVID-19 vaccine verification app and QR code system.
Forty-seven employees at Ottawa's Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario have been placed on unpaid leave for failing to comply with its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.
Ottawa's top doctor urges parents to limit extra-curricular activities, sleepovers for unvaccinated children
"The most common source of COVID-19 infections for children and youth are household members," writes Dr. Vera Etches in a letter to Ottawa parents.
With the Canadian government requiring those entering the country to take a COVID-19 test before you land, that travel comes with an added cost.
Another 13 people have died in the latest 24-hour period examined by public health officials, the province said in its final COVID-19 update of the week.
B.C.'s police watchdog has concluded that RCMP officers did not use excessive force in their efforts to arrest a man who was causing a disturbance in a Whistler restaurant in March 2020.
Tour operators want Ottawa to consider switching requirement to rapid tests for returning Canadian travellers
With the U.S. border reopening for non-essential travel from Canada early next month, tour operators are trying to find a way to navigate the remaining requirement for a PCR test before returning home. An industry group is calling on the federal government to consider allowing rapid tests as an alternative.
Quebec’s ministry of health will make changes to its verification process for the COVID-19 passport after possibly hundreds of people were able to quite easily get their hands on faked passports online, CTV News has learned.
A 53-year-old Montreal woman alleges she was thrown to the ground by police after lowering her mask while leaving a metro station.
A Mouvement Montreal candidate has been dropped from the party roster for posting several controversial images and statements to social media.
The new cases were among 667 cases found across the province over the past 24 hours.
One of Vancouver Island’s largest private employers is on the hunt for new talent and is looking to hire a significant number of new workers this weekend.
On Nov. 8, the land and sea borders will open up again for Canadians wanting to visit the U.S. The question is, will anyone make the trip?
A New Brunswick pastor is in custody after a court hearing Friday over his alleged breaches of COVID-19 public health rules was adjourned until next week.
Health officials in Nova Scotia reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 recoveries on Friday, as the number of active cases rises to 199.
Searchers have found the body of a missing fishing captain from a Mi'kmaw community who went overboard during his vessel's journey back to harbour.
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli announced Friday the Ontario government is providing $1,251,592 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation for seven local groups in the area.
Sault Ste. Marie's unemployment rate in September increased to 9.3 per cent from 8.1.
This week in Sudbury, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 in Memorial Park, where there is a growing encampment of homeless people.
Region of Waterloo Public Health is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the area total to 19,890.
As Premier Doug Ford awaits the response from hospital CEOs across Ontario regarding their thoughts on a vaccine policy for staff, local hospitals are adjusting to the mandate already implemented.
Ontario is launching an enhanced proof of vaccination certificate, which utilizes a QR code, starting Friday.