COVID-19 Update: Canada failed to learn from SARS, says report | Alberta labs working to reduce delays for medical testing | Tam urges caution for Canadians celebrating Thanksgiving

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Hundreds of people died of SARS elsewhere, including in China and Taiwan. However, Possamai says in the report released Monday that unlike Canada, those countries heeded the warnings from SARS, which he calls “a dress rehearsal for COVID-19.”

“In COVID-19, Canada is witnessing a systemic, preventable failure to learn from the 2003 SARS outbreak,” he says. “It is a failure to both adequately prepare and to urgently respond in a manner that is commensurate with the gravest public health emergency in a century.”

Possamai says in the report, titled “A Time of Fear: How Canada Failed Our Health-Care Workers and Mismanaged COVID-19,” that the safety of workers, from those in long-term care homes to respiratory technicians and nurses and doctors in hospitals, has been ignored.

It says union sources suggest 16 workers died of the pandemic, though official reports put the number at 12 deaths.

Canada’s infection rate among health-care workers is four times that of China, the report says.

While other countries, including the United States, have fared worse than Canada in containing COVID-19, they managed to escape SARS and did not have the opportunity to learn from it, Possamai says in the report, which was commissioned by the Canadian Federation of Nurses’ Unions to evaluate the first wave of the pandemic.


As winter approaches, Alberta labs working to reduce wait times, delays for medical testing

People line up at the Sunridge lab location for medical testing on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

As Alberta labs continue to complete thousands of COVID-19 tests daily, delays for access to general lab services have been impacted with non-urgent bookings being pushed up to three to five weeks.

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