An entrance to the Peter Lougheed Centre hospital is shown in Calgary, Thursday, April 9, 2020. The Canadian Medical Association is calling for circuit-breaker lockdowns in Alberta and Saskatchewan to protect "crumbling" health-care systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

‘State of crisis:’ Medical group calls for lockdowns in Alberta and Saskatchewan

The Canadian Medical Association is calling for lockdowns in Alberta and Saskatchewan to protect their “crumbling” health-care systems.

Both western provinces are setting hospitalization records for COVID-19, with intensive care capacity running slim.

Dr. Katharine Smart, president of the national association, is urging the federal and provincial governments to take immediate action.

The association is calling for short, controlled lockdowns, often called “firebreakers” or “circuit-breakers,” which would close schools and non-essential businesses.

It also wants mandatory vaccinations in health-care settings and an increase in the mobility of health workers and intensive care capacity between provinces.

Smart says it’s time for “courageous action” and politics must be put to the side to allow for collaboration between levels of government.

“We are now witnessing an unprecedented health-care crisis in Alberta and Saskatchewan – and patients and health workers are experiencing unfathomable choices and consequences,” Smart said in a statement Wednesday.

“Early relaxation of public health measures has left two crumbling health-care systems in their wake and the dire realities are now in full view.

“What is happening is as heartbreaking as it was preventable. We are now in a situation where it’s all hands on deck to address the state of crisis.”