More than 100 med students call for more action on COVID-19 in open letter to Sask. government

·2 min read

More than 100 University of Saskatchewan medical students have signed an open letter to the provincial government calling for more action to control the spread of COVID-19.

In the letter, students thank the government for some of the measures already taken, such as mandatory indoor masking, but say they're not enough.

"We ask you to further consider the advice of the hundreds of Saskatchewan medical experts and take decisive action to protect the residents of Saskatchewan," reads the letter. "The incredible community in this province will rally behind initiatives that protect the lives of their families, their friends, and their neighbours."

The letter, sent Monday morning to Premier Scott Moe, Health Minister Paul Merriman and Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, calls for more testing, more education to combat misinformation and better contact tracing once numbers are brought under control.

submitted by Shayan Shirazi
submitted by Shayan Shirazi

"I think we have an obligation to advocate on behalf of patients, but we are also citizens. We would like action," second-year medical student Shayan Shirazi said in an interview Monday.

The students would also like to see better supports for the homeless and other vulnerable people, as well as more supports for affected businesses.

"We felt the need to outline our concerns, but also outline some solutions," Shirazi said. "We have to protect our businesses and vulnerable communities as well."

The letter echoes the previous open letters from hundreds of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other groups who predicted the current case surge nearly three weeks ago.

The average daily COVID-19 case count has risen to more than 250 in the past week, with 548 cases over the weekend. A record number of COVID-19 patients have been admitted to the province's intensive care units.

Last week, the government imposed further limits on gatherings of all kinds, but nightclubs, bars, restaurants, gyms and other venues will be allowed to remain open. On the weekend, it clarified the rules to allow movie-goers to eat and drink unmasked in the theatre.

No one from the Ministry of Health was immediately available Monday.