With the International Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job as a backdrop, United Nurses of Alberta President Heather Smith and Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas urged Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to urgently take the necessary steps to counter the third wave of COVID-19.
In a letter to the premier sent yesterday, the Day of Mourning, the two nursing leaders noted that “fears are mounting across the country about ICUs reaching capacity, and that we may soon have medical professionals being forced to choose who receives intensive care and who does not."
“The failure to address longstanding nursing shortages that predate the pandemic is playing a significant role in the challenges we currently face,” they wrote. “We will need to work together to fix this soon, but for now we have a health emergency on our hands requiring our urgent attention. We cannot afford any delay.”
Smith and Silas called for Alberta to take measures that include prohibiting all non-essential travel in and out of the province, limiting health care services to essential matters to free up resources to support ICU teams, implementing self-isolation and sick days so essential workers are not compelled to work when ill, and focusing on vaccinating all front-line nurses, health care workers and other essential workers.