A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of province, Premier Jason Kenney’s office says.

Ontario announced it is thousands of nurses short Friday.

In a letter to all provinces and territories sent Friday morning, Ontario’s Deputy Health Minister Helen Angus asked whether they had any nurses to spare. The pandemic, Angus said, had strained hospital capacity in southern Ontario, particularly intensive care.

Ontario was expected to be short 4,145 nurses in the hospital sector alone over the next four months, Angus said, while asking her counterparts for 620 health professionals, including nurses and respiratory therapists.

“We are projecting a need for this critical support for four months following the anticipated peak of the third wave,” Angus wrote.

A spokesperson from Kenney’s office said with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on a “sharp rise” in Alberta, the province cannot spare any health-care workers.

“Our priority must be and will be the health and safety of Albertans, and that means making sure our hospitals are adequately staffed to treat COVID-19 patients,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Ontario as they fight this third wave and we will continue to have discussions with the Ontario government on how Alberta might support them going forward.”

When the pandemic began, Alberta found itself in a surplus of PPE and shipped over 35 million units of gloves, masks, goggles, and ventilators to British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, the statement added.

–With files from The Canadian Press



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