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An open letter regarding the implications of an early #skpoli election on #COVID19 containment #cdnhealth @PremierScottMoe @ryanmeili @zakvescera @mmandryk
As a public health physician based in Saskatchewan, I am greatly concerned by the Premier’s remarks about calling a snap spring election in the face of the expanding worldwide outbreaks of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).…
Canada and the rest of the world only learned of this brand-new virus just over 8 weeks ago, but already there are more than 110,000 confirmed cases and 3,825 deaths reported worldwide as of Sunday evening.…
Over the past 4 weeks, a few confirmed cases ballooned into major outbreaks in South Korea, Italy and Iran. In the United States, 8 states have declared a state of emergency.
This past week, Ontario and British Columbia both reported their first #COVID19 cases with no known connections to existing cases or contacts, and over the weekend, B.C. declared a coronavirus outbreak in a long-term care facility. Alberta has confirmed its first case.
It’s only a matter of time before #COVID19 reaches Saskatchewan.

In the absence of effective treatments or vaccines, non-pharmaceutical interventions aimed at flattening the peak of the epidemic curve...
...will require building public trust to achieve coordinated outbreak control and mitigation responses.

How will the Saskatchewan government provide leadership through this crisis if the Legislature is dissolved and we’re in the middle of an election? #skpoli #cdnpoli
Crucially, support from political leaders, including the Minister of Health and the Premier, will be required to facilitate collaborations and coordination among the relevant Ministries and to ensure the necessary supply chains remain functioning.
To reduce the human, economic and societal costs of #COVID19, key decisions on financial and human resources and mobilizations need to be made in a time-sensitive manner via a pre-established #PublicHealth emergency Incident Command System.
This whole-of-government approach is crucial to successfully implement isolation and social-distancing measures.

For example, how will the Premier deal with sick workers who are told to self-isolate at home for 14 days, but who don’t have enough sick days and...
…can’t afford to risk their jobs, especially if the cabinet has been dissolved due to an early election call?

Across North America, community leaders are canceling major scheduled events such as the SXSW festival in TX & the women’s world hockey tournament in Nova Scotia.
In Saskatchewan, all international trips within Regina’s Public School Division have been cancelled. These social-distancing measures will help reduce exposure and the demands on our already over-stretched health system.…
Elections, on the other hand, are exercises in reducing social distances.

Candidates and volunteers knock on doors and shake hands; people attend rallies; and on election day, we send hundreds of thousands of people to polling stations, where they wait in line together…
…and come into contact with shared pens, papers and door handles. Many of those who vote will be seniors, the group at highest risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes.
One would hope that the Premier @PremierScottMoe considers the systems-wide threats posed by a poorly managed COVID-19 outbreak in deciding whether to call the provincial election “very, very soon.”

Containing #COVID19 requires a massive societal response, strong government leadership & social-distancing measures. Calling a snap election this spring has the potential to expose a lot of people to the virus and will make a coordinated response in Saskatchewan more difficult.
#Taiwan’s relative success in its COVID-19 containment efforts involved rapid decisions and the implementation of at least 124 action items.

Calling a snap spring election at the outset of a pandemic wasn’t one of them.… via @JAMA_current
Man dies from #coronavirus at Long Term Care in B.C. is believed to be the first #COVID19 death in Canada.

#cdnpoli #skpoli via @globeandmail…
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