NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman issued the following statement following today’s Alberta public health update:
“Today, we have learned of some staggering COVID-19 numbers and little else.
“The premier failed to share projections or modelling of where we’re going and how many of us will get sick with COVID along the way. By failing to be open with modelling, we can’t estimate how many Albertans will end up in hospital or in intensive-care. In Quebec, we know, for example, that hospitalizations have increased 38 per cent over the past week.
“Let’s be clear that our hospitals are far from recovered from the Premier’s massive failures in the fourth wave. There are tens of thousands of Albertans still waiting on delayed surgeries. There are tens of thousands of Albertans without access to a family physician and we continue to see emergency room closures in various rural communities and ambulance shortages that are leading to waits of up to an hour for emergency care.
“We heard nothing today about how our overburdened healthcare system is going to deal with a potential surge of Omicron cases in hospital.
“The stress and strain on Albertans goes much further than hospitals too. Schools are due to reopen next week but nothing is being provided in the way of additional support or guidance. We want to keep these schools open and safe, students simply can’t endure through another UCP failure leading to a massive shutdown. Many small businesses are being told to limit capacity but are not being provided with any resources to help offset small customer numbers. Mental health is a major concern for Albertans who have been forced to cancel gatherings or isolate entirely over the holidays. Where are the additional resources for those struggling to cope right now?
“What we saw today wasn’t real leadership. The Premier is trying to convey a steady-as-we-go message when things are rapidly spiralling out of his control.
“Our testing and tracing systems have collapsed. We know the numbers being reported tomorrow will likely be only a fraction of the true scope of the pandemic, as currently most Albertans with symptoms don’t have access to a PCR test and we hear continual reports of pharmacies running out of rapid tests.
“Alberta’s NDP doesn’t have all the answers, but we know more must be done, to test and trace for COVID, to limit the spread of the Omicron variant, to support schools, small businesses and more.
“We continue to call for an Independent Science Table to provide public health advice free from this Premier’s political games. He simply cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Not after so many repeated failures.
“Most importantly, we need to restore Albertans’ trust.
“The UCP Government must deliver a clear plan to get us to the other side of this fifth wave, which has the potential to impact more Albertans than any wave previously and perhaps all of them combined.”