When news of the first COVID-19 case began to spread in Canada in early 2020, Linda Silas was one of the first to ring the bells regarding the lack of self-defense equipment for health workers.
While early indications of the virus being spread by landfills, Silas, President of the Canadian Federation of Nurses, urged health officials to learn from the 2003 SARS epidemic with extreme caution.
Now she knows she was right – the virus is flying the plane – but she is still calling for nurses to protect themselves from nurses two years later.
Local organizations across the country say that nurses who have asked for a test break may not be able to get it sometimes, even though the Omicron variant is more contagious than previous breeds.
The shortage of healthy nurses to deal with Omicron’s wide-ranging problem has meant that hospitals and other health care providers have sent nurses with certified COVID-19 cases, and some have not been given the appropriate masks, he said.
“Patients at risk may have COVID staff assisted, and without proper PPE it is dangerous,” he said.
Canadian health director, Dr. Theresa Tam, describes the spread of COVID-19 as a cloud of smoke coming out of another person’s mouth and nose. She and other health professionals have encouraged people to use effective masks to protect themselves.
Silas said that in many places such as vaccines, people seem to have better immune systems than health workers.
“It’s a mishmash, and a fight,” Silas told The Canadian Press. “In long-term care and real warfare, in civilian care is real warfare and in critical care it depends on where you work.”
Various hospitals seem to be taking different approaches in providing PPE to nurses, which is not clear, he said, “because science is a science.”
Some nurses still do not have the COVID-19 self-defense equipment: alliance. # Covid19 #PPE
Canadian retail companies should be held accountable, says University of Windsor professor Anne Snowdon, a registered nurse who specializes in health and chain management.
“The problem is always dire. The result of the decline in our mobility is the lack of access to protective equipment which is crucial in reducing the spread of the virus to our staff, as well as our patients,” Snowdon told The Canadian Press.
The lack of PPE was probably clear in the early days of the epidemic, but critics like Silas doubt how Canada could remain the same in many health facilities.
The answer, Snowdon said, was a bit difficult to begin with.
“We’re building the bridges we’re going through,” he said.
In some areas, such as construction, key workers may not be in the same situation, Silas said, because they will have the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions.
But health workers cannot do that without the guilt of leaving patients. It is the same case where nurses work 16 to 24 hours a day, or carry a large patient load, he said.
“It’s a crime that forces health workers.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 14, 2022.
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