TORONTO – Ontario is pleading with other provinces to send nurses and other health workers as it buckles under surging COVID-19 infections.
In a letter to all provinces and territories, the Ontario government notes it is short thousands of nurses.
The deputy minister of health, Helen Angus, also asks whether her counterparts have any resources to spare.
Her letter says the pandemic has strained hospital capacity, particularly intensive care.
Angus estimates Ontario will be short 4,145 nurses in the hospital sector alone over the next four months.
The letter asks for another 620 health professionals, including nurses and respiratory therapists.
“Specifically, the province would need assistance in southern Ontario, anticipated to be in the Greater Toronto Area and immediate surrounding areas,” Angus writes. “We are projecting a need for this critical support for four months following the anticipated peak of the third wave.”
However, spokesperson for Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said they are unable to provide help due to rising cases in their province.
“… With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on a sharp rise here in Alberta, we are simply not in a position to send our health care workers outside the province at this time. Our priority must be and will be the health and safety of Albertans, and that means making sure our hospitals are adequately staffed to treat COVID-19 patients,” said press secretary Jerrica Goodwin.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe followed suit, saying the province cannot afford to part with any of its healthcare workers, either.
—With files from Global News Jessica Patton
© 2021 The Canadian Press