Over 100 Saskatchewan medical students call on province to increase testing, temporary closures

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan doctors say province losing fight with COVID-19'
Saskatchewan doctors say province losing fight with COVID-19
Saskatchewan doctors say province losing fight with COVID-19 – Nov 11, 2020

Over 100 medical students in Saskatchewan have signed a letter calling for the province to do more to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It follows a similar letter signed by more than 350 doctors asking for more action as ICUs across the province reach capacity.

Saskatchewan has a new record high of 3,879 active cases as of Monday, according to health officials.

The letter, penned by the Student Medical Association of Saskatchewan (SMSS), calls for increased testing capacity, and to ramp up contact tracing.

It also asks for the temporary closures of recreational facilities like bingo halls and casinos.

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A quarter of Saskatchewan’s community transmission stems from those facilities, according to data from the province released Nov. 23.

“The evidence is abundantly clear that there really is a significant cause of spread from these recreational centres,” said Michael-Roy Durr, a second-year medical student who signed the letter.

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“Now that we have the evidence we know that this is a place where more measures need to be put in place.”

The letter also calls for financial support for small businesses and the vulnerable population if another lockdown is needed.

It also suggests creating a working group between the “government” and medical experts to “create a strategic plan for reopening, future outbreaks, and rises in case numbers”.

A spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health said it has received the letter and will respond directly to the students.

“We want to thank them for sharing their concerns and look forward to reviewing the recommendations,” wrote Jennifer Graham.

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The ministry declined to comment on the measures outlined.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan Union of Nurses’ flags abuse, understaffing as problems to contact tracing'
Saskatchewan Union of Nurses’ flags abuse, understaffing as problems to contact tracing

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

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