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N.L. health-care workers likely heading to Ontario Tuesday

andrew furey doug ford
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, left, has spoken with Premier Doug Ford and says promised help for Ontario should be heading out on Tuesday. (CBC)

Health-care workers from Newfoundland and Labrador are expected to head to Ontario Tuesday to help relieve a system buckling under the weight of a brutal third wave of COVID-19. 

In a social media post Sunday night, Premier Andrew Furey said he had spoken with Ontario Premier Doug Ford over the weekend, and expects a contingent of nurses and others to be on their way soon. 

Ontario reported nearly 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, along with 24 more deaths, more than 2,100 people in hospital, and a new high of 851 patients in intensive care.

The pandemic has pushed workers there to the brink of exhaustion, and Furey was one of the first premiers to offer nurses and extra equipment to help.

The move comes as the province’s Registered Nurses’ Union continues to push government to address persistent staffing shortages in parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, something Furey says they’re working to deal with. 

“This is an acute crisis in Ontario right now,” Furey said in an interview with CBC Radio’s The House.

“We’ve been assured by the regional health authorities that any staffing models that we provide to Ontario to help our brothers and sisters in Ontario won’t affect, won’t have an impact here on delivery of services in our own health authorities.”

The nurses’ union has said potentially 30 nurses could be chosen from a pool of volunteers in the three regional health authorities on the island.

The union says none will come from Labrador-Grenfell Health’s coverage area, where staffing levels are at an all-time low.

Furey said he expects to provide more details about the plan on Monday. 

CBC News: The House7:14N.L. extends a hand to Ontario

Andrew Furey, premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, joins The House to discuss pandemic assistance for Canada’s most populous province and offers his reaction to the federal budget. 7:14

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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