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REGINA – The federal government is ready to help Saskatchewan fight its fourth wave of COVID-19.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu in a tweet on Friday confirmed that she had spoken with Provincial Health Minister Paul Merriman and “made sure he knew the federal government would be there to help the people of Saskatchewan in this health crisis “.

“We are ready to help wherever we are needed,” the tweet read.

While the federal government stands ready to help, Hajdu reminded Merriman that it takes time to deploy these resources, and equipment is easier to ship than healthcare workers.

“It depends on Saskatchewan’s resource needs, which is why it is so essential that the province anticipate what it anticipates needs as it tries to cope with the surge,” Hajdu said in an interview. telephone.

She said the province had not yet made any formal request.

Merriman’s office did not respond to a request for an interview and the health minister last responded to open questions from the media a month ago.

CTV News obtained a letter from the minister to Hajdu.

“I want to thank you for extending the offer you made in terms of federal assistance if the Province of Saskatchewan requires it,” reads Merriman’s letter.

“At this time, we have expanded the capacity of our acute and intensive care units to deal with the pressures we are under, and we will continue to use the federal resources that have always been in place to complement these efforts.”

Merriman, however, asked for expedited approval for rapid testing and the distribution of antibody therapies.

Ottawa’s offer comes as Saskatchewan continues to break COVID-19 records. As of Sunday, the province recorded more than 550 new cases, its highest number of new daily cases since the start of the pandemic. These cases have pushed the province to a record high of 4,864 active cases.

Dr Alex Wong, an infectious disease specialist, said this wave was different from others.

“People are so sad and sorry that they are asking for the vaccine, they are begging for the vaccine,” Wong said.

Wong said the next two weeks will be critical in determining where the curve is heading, adding that 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.

“I don’t think in any way that we’re on the verge of getting away with this,” Wong said.

“We need to put in place consistent messages about the current situation and the gravity of the situation.”

Wong calls on the province to introduce brief and immediate measures to reduce transmission. He said those calls did not include a lockdown, but rather limits on collection sizes and the extension of contact tracing.

The official opposition has already called on Premier Scott Moe to officially ask Ottawa for help.

The NDP says it is time for the province to consider calling on the Canadian military to help in several ways, such as contact tracing, testing and on the front lines.

Last Wednesday, the province said it was in regular contact with the federal government about the response to the pandemic. Although he has requested additional rapid test kits, there has been no further request for federal support.

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