Health, health care system, pharmacare

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On March 18, Day Support Programs providing supports to persons with intellectual disabilities went in to critical service mode. The move to critical services meant that the majority of Day Program Services were closed in keeping with public health requirements and to keep our most vulnerable populations safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Manitoba re-opens, COVID-19 remains a pressing public health threat—one that will continue to require governments of all levels to step up with more efforts to protect the public.  The Manitoba provincial government will have to do its part. Manitoba still has a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including N-95 masks, for all health care workers, including home care and personal care home staff. These are essential workers and we can’t turn them into sacrificial workers.
Included on any list of COVID-19 heroes must be public transit drivers. Yet their workplaces are not safe from COVID-19. In the US, at least 100 bus drivers have died from COVID-19.  Here in Winnipeg, transit drivers have been deemed essential by Mayor Brian Bowman but they have not, until very recently, been afforded any protections against this deadly disease despite their continued exposure to the public.
Emergency measures are deemed universally necessary to prevent the transmission and control of COVID-19. Around the world, people are asked to: wash hands often, maintain physical distance and quarantine in your shelter (WHO, 2020, Health Canada, 2020). These are effective measures to slow down the transmission of the virus (WHO, 2020) but in communities with overcrowded homes that lack piped water and with no hospitals — how can Canada make this pipe dream a reality?
OTTAWA – As provinces begin re-opening, following a COVID-19 enforced shutdown that protected millions of workers from high-risk workplaces, many workers will be pressured to go back to jobs that will put them at great risk of infection.
VANCOUVER - Canada should aim to become completely self-sufficient in producing masks and other essential medical supplies needed during pandemics and rely on the country’s forest industry—not its oil industry—to get the job done, says the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 
COVID-19 has further exposed the disproportionate care responsibilities shouldered by women in our province. From frontline workers, to parents, women are the face of COVID-19 both as warriors battling the frontline but also in the private, domestic sphere of life.  Even before COVID-19 women in Manitoba were experiencing the cuts and changes to the health care system disproportionately. And for the trans and non-binary community these are felt even harder and with greater discrimination which warrants not just discussion but action. 
The heart-breaking tragedy of multiple COVID-19 deaths in Canadian long-term care facilities, and the often-horrific manner in which those deaths have occurred, are evidence of what appears to have become “normal” in many of those facilities.