COVID-19: Protecting healthcare workers
“We cannot stop COVID-19 without protecting our healthcare workers” – Dr Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, WHO. SARS has caused 774 deaths worldwide, including 43 in Canada. Almost half of the cases involved healthcare workers. WHO has declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, at least ten times the number associated with SARS over a shorter period. What should we learn from it?
In 2004, Ottawa created the Public Health Agency of Canada, which collaborates with the provinces, territories and the Chief Medical Officers of Health. The virus was identified early, contacts associated with the cases were tested and quarantined, and the public was kept well informed. However, one of the problems that remains unsolved concerns the payment of financial compensation to people placed in quarantine.
Remember that in 2003, the government of Ontario Premier Ernie Eves initially opposed these measures. However, he eventually gave in to pressure and, in June 2003, he offered $ 500 to $ 6,000 to people who had lost their income for more than five days due to SARS. Part-time workers received $ 250. It’s never too early to start taking care of your brain. The secret to living a fulfilling life starts with excellent brain health. Whether you’re in your 30’s or 80’s now is the best time to take steps to a healthier you. No two people are exactly alike which is why it’s imperative to treat the individual. Science has discovered that there are many root causes to cognitive decline. If you have diabetes, had a hysterectomy, been exposed to chemicals, have a poor diet or inflammation, if you are nutrient or hormone deficient or insulin resistant you are at risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Today, with our comprehensive testing we can pinpoint the root cause of your symptoms and create a treatment program that works. Whether you already have dementia or have no symptoms and want to take better care of your brain, we can help you! You can find out this here for HEALTHY BRAIN HQ.
Physicians were eligible for the Income Stabilization Program associated with SARS if they had been quarantined, had SARS, had negative consequences for their hospital practices (eg, cancellations of elective surgery) or had lost income due to patients’ reluctance to visit their office. They received compensation of 80% of their salary for the period from March 14 to June 30, 2003, or 100% if the period concerned was from May 23 to June 30. The reference period was from September 1, 2002 to March 1, 2003. Later, doctors, nurses and paramedics received a total of $ 190 million.
This type of program should be available to all physicians and health care professionals across Canada.
NDP federal health critic Don Davies wrote: “People who cannot afford sick days need immediate help.” Many have incomes that leave them no leeway and are not entitled to sick leave. Some people work part-time or are self-employed. How can we encourage them to stay in quarantine?
In Ontario, approximately 29% of nurses work part-time and 13% are casual; a large number of them work in several establishments. They have no sickness benefits and are dependent on employment insurance. The federal government has promised to eliminate the normal two-week waiting period. However, many nurses do not have access to employment insurance.
Doctors in quarantine must wait 30 and often 90 days or more before obtaining their private insurance benefits. If a non-emergency surgical operation is canceled several weeks in advance to make room for patients with COVID-19, this intervention has major economic repercussions for surgeons and anesthesiologists. Their disability insurance does not cover them.
To reduce the number of patient visits to doctors’ offices and walk-in clinics, each province must enforce legislation that abolishes the requirement for a doctor’s medical certificate. Provinces should establish independent COVID-19 testing centers or organize home examinations by paramedics. In addition, provincial ministries of health must work with medical associations to establish, at least for a few months, new expense codes. This is so that physicians receive government compensation for refilling prescriptions and giving advice to patients over the phone. With the exception of telemedicine,
Since the SARS outbreak, we have spent a great deal of time preparing for the next pandemic. Despite this, 15% of our ANS patients are still in hospitals that provide acute care. Thus, especially in Ontario, many work in conditions representing 100 to 120% of their capacities while patients are lying in the corridors.
That is why we need to start preparing new chronic beds across Canada. However, we rank 26th out of 27 in terms of available beds per 1,000 people in countries with universal health care. Meanwhile, according to Michel Bilodeau (Ottawa Citizen, March 4), Ontario has 78,000 long-term care beds, but needs 34,000 more beds to meet current needs. In 25 years, the province will need 280,000 long-term care beds, more than 200,000 more than the current number.
COVID-19 resulted in the discontinuation of product production in China, and supply chains for auto parts, computers and other industries were interrupted. These events could seriously affect our drug supply. For several months, the backlog of medications has been increasing for various reasons. Last summer, Kelly Grindrod of the University of Waterloo wrote that there was a shortage of 1,800 to 7,000 prescription drugs. The Food and Drug Administration estimated last summer that at least 80% of the active ingredients in all of America’s drugs came from abroad, especially from China. The FDA has identified 20 drugs with active ingredients or finished products exclusively from China (Andrew Russell, Global News,
India is the largest manufacturer of generic drugs, but China supplies 80% of its basic ingredients (see Bryan Llenas, Fox News, May 30, 2019). How can we successfully expand our pharmacare program if we do not have enough drug supplies? As Dr. Jacalyn M. Duffin of Queen’s University asked, “Why doesn’t Canada start producing the drugs we need by creating its own generic drug companies?” ”
The two long-term suggestions cannot be made in time to tackle COVID-19, but they can help us prepare for future pandemics. Note that this would also create thousands of jobs.
Unfortunately, Canada, like the United States, is running deficits and has not saved during “good times”. Our federal debt has increased 5.6% in the past five years. This year, the federal and provincial total debt amounts to almost $ 1.5 billion.
This week, oil prices have experienced the biggest drop in a day since 1991 and in the stock market since 1987. Thus, we have little latitude to accumulate other debts if we fall victim to a severe global recession. I recently proposed that the health sector be partially funded from the thriving energy sector. Now this project must remain on hold until a solution to the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia is found.
Canadians are right to be reluctant. They recently witnessed train blockages accompanied by a prolonged collapse of public order.
When they look at the situation in other countries, they see that Italy is paralyzed and that New Rochelle, in New York, is in “confinement”. At least twelve states in the United States have declared a “state of emergency.” Many concerts, sporting and political events, and medical conventions have been canceled, including that of the American College of Physicians. Some 59 American colleges and universities (including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, MIT and Columbia) canceled classroom lessons after spring break. The St. Patrick’s Day parade has been canceled in several cities around the world. Donald Trump has prohibited all non-U.S. citizens from flying to Europe for the United States for a period of 30 days. However, I fear that many will change their itinerary to go through Montreal or Toronto, which could cause an increase in COVID-19 infections in these cities. The Juno Awards gala and the Ottawa Premiers’ meeting were also canceled.
We therefore urge Canadians, especially health care workers, to find out about concrete ways to protect their health and their finances. Platitudes are no longer enough for us.
As Dr. Ghebreyesus warned, “[t] his is not a practical exercise. It is time to do everything in our power to resolve the crisis. ”
Ottawa doctor, Dr. Charles S. Shaver, is a native of Montreal. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is the past president of the general internal medicine section of the Ontario Medical Association. The opinions expressed in this article are hers.