Thunder Bay

Federal government preparing for 'variety' of COVID-19 scenarios: health minister

Canada’s federal government is preparing for a number of possible COVID-19 scenarios, including a possible second wave, the health minister said Thursday.
Canada's health minister said the government is preparing for several possible COVID-19 scenarios. (NIAID-RML via Reuters)

Canada's federal government is preparing for a number of possible COVID-19 scenarios, including a possible second wave, the health minister said Thursday.

"No one really knows what's going to happen next," Patty Hajdu said. "The second wave theory comes from influenza patterns."

"What we are preparing for is a variety of scenarios, that might include a surge in the fall," she said. "It might also include … a peaks and valleys scenario, where you see increased activity, and it's suppressed by public health measures."

"What we're doing is preparing for the worst, and preparing for the best."

Hajdu said the government wants to avoid "significant outbreaks," such as those happening in many areas in the United States.

Compounding the problem is the fact that much about the virus remains unknown.

"We do know that … it can be extremely serious for some people, including long-term illness, and for others, they may not even be aware that they had it," Hajdu said.

Important conversations about police

Speaking on CBC Superior Morning, Hajdu also said the ongoing conversation about policing is an important one.

"There is an opportunity to think about how we fund services for the right level of care," Hajdu said, adding that police often find themselves essentially doing "social work on the street," when there are other agencies that could handle that, as well.

"I think we've relied on enforcement to do a lot that, in some cases, really isn't the best fit," she said. "There might be a way to rebalance that."

Hajdu said she did a ride-along with Thunder Bay police at Christmas, and the majority of calls she went on "needed less an enforcement officer, more a social worker, outreach type of person."

"These were people that were, in some cases, intoxicated, in severe emotional distress," Hajdu said. "Those are the kinds of calls, I think, that could be very well-handled by mental health professionals, that are well-trained to handle crisis care."

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