Experts say Canada is not ready to face a second wave of COVID-19
The country is ill-prepared for a possible second wave of COVID-19, according to a new report from the Senate of Canada.
The Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology warns that a fresh surge of the virus would threaten vulnerable population groups, including health care workers, essential frontline workers, young people, seniors and people with mental health conditions.
The report notes that health care workers and essential frontline workers remain particularly vulnerable to infection, largely due to a lack of personal protective equipment.
"It has become clear that the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile was not well managed and did not contain enough protective equipment," it says.
"Witnesses said the government should ensure the stockpile is regularly monitored and replenished."
Seniors have been particularly hard hit by the virus, with the report stating that many long-term care homes do not have the facilities to isolate sick patients or to allow for physical distancing in dining areas.
"Residents have died as a result, underscoring the urgent need for action," the report cautions.
“While many Canadians are successfully adapting to our new reality, it has become clear that vulnerable groups require additional support from the federal government," said Senator Rose-May Poirier, deputy chair of the committee.
She added: "There have already been too many stories of loss and despair in seniors’ residences. Canada must be better prepared, or we will face further heartbreak.”
The senate committee has urged that better diagnostic testing and contact tracing are required for effective containment of new cases.
The report also calls for better data so the federal government can create evidence-based policies to keep Canadians safe.
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