Health systems ramping up to deal with potential influx of COVID-19 cases

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OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer says provinces are working to boost the capacity of their health care systems to handle the outbreak of COVID-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam says the race to fortify the systems started after the first rumblings of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, more than two months ago.

Since the outbreak hit Canada, she says provinces have started taking measures to free up hospital resources and beds, like cancelling elective surgeries and procedures.

The federal public health agency has also been working with provincial health authorities to stock up on supplies, including test kits, personal protective equipment and ventilators.

Meanwhile, officials have been working on ways to keep people out of the health system entirely, particular since most COVID-19 cases are mild and can be handled at home.

That includes using online assessments and telehealth so people don’t need to go to the hospital and clinics don’t get inundated with patients.

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