CANADA FOR COVID CONTAINMENT

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Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Dr. Theresa Tam:

We cannot fight an enemy we cannot find.  Containment strategies in conjunction with our present mitigation strategy are essential to controlling our COVID-19 crisis. Mitigation alone, meaning movement restriction, social distancing and closure of nonessential services is difficult to manage and costly in socioeconomic terms and doesn't fundamentally deal with the problem of disease transmission.  These measures need not be so extreme if we are also committed to case finding, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine of positive cases.  These are the fundamentals of containment of this disease. 

We are a group of Canadian physicians, medical students and allied health professionals looking for signatures to call for political commitment on Canada’s effort of containment for this disease. We appreciate that you recently implemented an $82 billion dollar aid package to help Canadian business, and that healthcare is largely the realm of Provincial Governments. However, we the undersigned recognize there is a massive workforce that begins, but doesn't end, with retired doctors and nurses, medical students, university students and other health professionals ready and willing to help in containment of this disease that have currently not been utilized. We recognize that front line healthcare workers involved in mitigating of this disease need help to lessen the burden of illness and health worker burnout.


DR. Tedros, Director General of WHO (Mar 18 2020):
“WHO continues to recommend that isolating, testing and treating every suspected case and tracing every contact must be the backbone of the response in every
country.”


Yet we are seeing rationing of viral testing swabs, progressive strangulation guidelines on who to test and overworked labs unable to handle the increased volume.  Last week we were testing all travellers with symptoms.  This week we are asking them to self isolate at home until asymptomatic for 48 hours. In many cases it becomes hard to justify strict isolation protocols without a positive test.  Physicians are getting frustrated and patients are getting angry.  Swabs that last week had a turn around time in 48 hours are now taking 4 days. Labs become a bottle neck to the system and are working overtime to process large number of tests and public health agencies are overwhelmed with contact tracing. 

We are calling on all levels of government to increase testing of citizens by existing COVID-19 clinics or by creating other innovative large scale testing sites. We're asking for increase testing capacities by bedside tests or in all labs across the country so that our turn around time from test to result is 24h or less. Public health should loosen restrictions so that an army of reduced work medical students, residents and physicians and nurses can be trained to strengthen this backbone to assist in contact tracing, isolating and follow up of ALL patients. We call on young tech savvy people to assist in ways that patients or contacts can be informed or updated and supported to self isolate with apps or other methods.  We have seen this achieve containment in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Israel to the benefit and health of their population. 

We say this to protect the lives of high and low risk groups that are taken by this disease. To lessen the burden of disease so that critical care and emergency health teams can work to save every life equally and give every Canadian the medical treatment they deserve. Thus ensuring the health and the strength of Canadians and our economy.  Please sign and forward!

Dr. Barbara King

Dr Wendy Iseman

Dr. Shobana Ananth

Dr. Bill Cherniak

Dr. Justin Losier

Dr. Doug Jang

Dr. Abdul Basith

Dr. Mike Taylor

Dr. Ilana Greenwald

Dr. Scott Kapoor

Mayor Dave Barton

Mia Kibel Med Student (U of Toronto)

Seth Kibel Med Student (U of Toronto)

Ron Litvack-Katzman Art/Sci Student and Reporter

Alexandra Prosterman RN, PA student (McMaster University)