NDP joins recovering COVID-19 patient in call to protect frontline workers

The NDP is continuing its call for the government to create a COVID-19 vaccine plan that prioritizes all frontline employees in vulnerable, high volume workplaces across the province.

Opposition Leader Ryan Meili says he wants to see the government take appropriate steps now to protect those workers from the third wave of COVID-19, and to mobilize supports for recovering patients and their families in helping with the trauma caused by their experiences from COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Meili was joined by 34-year-old Matthew Cardinal to share his experience battling COVID-19 as an example for this call.

Cardinal, a server at a local restaurant, first started showing symptoms on March 15. It was on March 24 that he began having difficulty breathing and was rushed to a hospital. As his condition began to deteriorate rapidly, health staff admitted him into the ICU where doctors informed him to contact his family before he was put on a ventilator and put into an induced coma.

“Vitals kept crashing to the point they told me I had to go to the ICU. So you have ten minutes to get ready, call and text your family, post whatever on social media,” explained Cardinal. “ICU was literal hell. I was in good hands there, but it was traumatizing.”

Cardinal’s story went public when his mother, Dianne Desjarlais-Cardinal, shared photos and information about his battle against the virus in hospital.

My son 💙 i share my son's journey to recovery, this is real, I hope people learn from it. He was a healthy 34 year old young man.

Posted by Dianne Desjarlais – Cardinal on Monday, March 29, 2021

Cardinal is now at home recovering, but he faces a long road ahead.

“I’m going to be on blood thinners for the next three months just in case there is a side effect of getting clots due to COVID-19,” he shared. “I will also have to do physio to try and get my mobility back. I was sent home with a walker and an oxygen concentrator, but it’s up to me to try and get my mobility back.”

Cardinal said he hopes his story will push the Sask. government to bring in a vaccine plan that prioritizes frontline employees not included in the strategy so far.

Following Cardinal’s comments, Meili said the government needs to follow guidelines put out by the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations and the Sask. Health Authority.

“They include folks in high risk workplaces; they include police officers and teachers in a systematic fashion,” stated Meili. “Let’s follow the guidelines instead of just doing things the way Paul Merriman thinks is the best way of doing it.”

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