Horizon Weekly exclusive interview with Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu: Our healthcare system is well prepared to handle cases of Coronavirus in Canada

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.

photo credit: Cole Davidson.

This past week, Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu took time to answer questions regarding Coronavirus. Questions regarding previous learnings and plans for the near future and just how prepared Canada is were addressed.  Read below, the conversation with Horizon Weekly’s Nazeeg Haneshian. The interview was conducted via email.


Q – The World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency in regard to the coronavirus. What can we exercise in our local community levels to prevent the virus from spreading

A – The health and safety of Canadians is our top priority, and the risk to Canadians is low. As with all viruses, the best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands with soap and water frequently, avoid touching your face, cough and sneeze into your sleeve instead of your hands, and stay home if you are sick.


Q- The strategy of educating the public has appeared to have effectively worked, however it has also presented some adverse effects to local communities and businesses. How will the government address these issues?

A – Acts of discrimination and intolerance have no place in Canada. The risk to Canadians in all communities is low, and our healthcare system is well prepared to handle coronavirus in Canada. Canadians in all communities can feel confident in our healthcare system.


Q – What has Canada learned from previous outbreaks of viruses, such as SARS, H1N1 in terms of testing, treating and preventing? And how have these learnings impacted with latest Coronavirus discovery in Canada?

A – We learned a great deal during SARS and in the time since, and Canada has worked hard to prepare for future viruses. The creation of Public Health Agency of Canada and the Chief Public Health Office of Canada, both of which facilitate collaboration between provinces and territories and the federal government, are two examples. Our healthcare system today is well prepared for the coronavirus.


Q- With the discovery of the coronavirus in Canada, is the public health system prepared? And is this top of mind for hospitals as they are dealing with other significant issues, such as increased demand (traffic) across all major departments?

A – We are working very closely with the provincial and territorial health care systems. Our healthcare system is well prepared to handle cases of the virus in Canada, and we are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection. There are best practices in place across all Canadian hospitals. The risk for Canadians remains low, and our healthcare system is prepared to prevent further spread.


Q – Some countries don’t have the ability to screen or appropriately deal with this virus, which may lead to a quicker spread and even leave people untreated. Will Canada be supporting these countries, and if so, how?

A – Working with our international partners including the World Health Organization Canada is supporting China and other countries in their efforts to contain the coronavirus. As an example, Canada is sending needed medical supplies to China.

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