Sask. health minister rejects COVID-19 aid offer from Ottawa
Saskatchewan’s minister of health has declined an offer for pandemic-related assistance from the federal government.
In a letter to federal health minister Patty Hajdu, Saskatchewan’s Paul Merriman said acute care capacity in Saskatchewan has been expanded.
“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.”
In the letter, Merriman requested expedited approval for rapid tests and distribution of antibody therapies.
His office did not respond to an interview request Monday, and the health minister last took open questions from the media one month ago.
CTV News reached out Tuesday with another request to interview the minister. According to a representative for Merriman, he may be available Wednesday.
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.
The offer from Ottawa comes as Saskatchewan reported an all-time high of 4,864 active cases on Sunday.