Alberta NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman issued the following statement in response to news that Alberta Health has internal modelling that shows COVID-19 cases will continue to grow into early September:
“For Albertans, this has been a week of confusion, frustration and concern. Jason Kenney’s complete inability to manage this pandemic and ease the minds of Albertans is shocking. In a matter of days, the UCP is planning on making our province among the first anywhere to stop testing for COVID-19, stop notifying close contacts and stop asking those who test positive to stay at home and prevent spread to others. This flies in the face of all common sense and public health protocols around the world.
“Albertans are saying: ‘this makes no sense’ and they’re right. Look at where we are today: In just the past 24 hours, our daily case counts have doubled. We are now at new cases levels not seen since early June. And we have more active cases than any other province, and a per-capita rate nearly four times higher than Ontario. According to the latest comparative data from Health Canada, we are tied with Saskatchewan for the lowest rate of vaccine uptake across the country. Only 56.3 per cent of all Albertans are fully vaccinated, and uptake has leveled off. As of today, we have roughly 1.3 million doses sitting on the shelf.
“Albertans can’t trust Jason Kenney to put their health ahead of his politics. No one thinks this is a good idea. Not even the Leader of the federal Conservatives, Erin O’Toole, who says the risk of Delta means it’s too dangerous for an election let alone stopping testing!
“If we are going to start learning to live with COVID-19, Albertans still deserve to know if they have it. This is the bare minimum Albertans expect from a responsible government. I understand that last night the Chief Medical Officer of Health said there is internal modelling that projects case numbers will grow into early September. This raises more questions.
“Why do we want to stop tracking COVID if we know it’s going up? Exactly what are the triggers for reversing this decision and restoring testing? Why does Jason Kenney continue to say there’s no modelling when the government says there is? And most importantly: What do these models show about Albertans? How many people will get sick? And how many will be hospitalized?
“The government says hospitalizations will QUOTE “not be significant”. Well, I can tell you, for those families in waiting rooms, it will be significant. That’s why we are calling for Jason Kenney and the UCP government to release these models today. If the Premier wants to be honest with Albertans about his plan, he needs to explain why he’s risking their health and their lives.
“Release the models and for heaven’s sake, reverse this reckless decision.”