Premier Jason Kenney’s “ineffective” leadership made Alberta’s second wave of COVID-19 worse, says the leader of Alberta’s NDP opposition.
“Health professionals warned Jason Kenney weeks in advance that the rising case numbers would overwhelm Alberta hospitals, but he did nothing,” Rachel Notley said Monday.
Newly released documents show the UCP government failed to act after the province hurtled past Alberta Health Services’ “early warning triggers” of hospital overload, the NDP said.
A Sept. 25 briefing note laid out early warning triggers, combinations of daily case numbers and R values that would lead to ICUs being overwhelmed even if restrictions were brought in that day, said Notley.
Alberta’s daily case count accelerated past 500, the worst-case scenario number in the AHS analysis, on Oct. 30. Mandatory public health orders weren’t introduced until Dec. 8, after daily cases numbers had more than tripled to more than 1,700.
By this time, AHS was double-bunking COVID patients, repurposing other hospital spaces into “unconventional ICUs,” working with the Red Cross to open emergency field hospitals and rationing oxygen. Thousands of surgeries were delayed as well.
“Jason Kenney’s dithering and hesitation pushed Alberta’s healthcare system to the limit, working frontline heroes into exhaustion and trauma,” Notley said.
The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Notley said they also reveal both AHS and Alberta Health public servants were being actively discouraged from developing COVID models, but AHS disregarded this and developed them anyway.
NDP health critic David Shepherd said Alberta is now in a “dangerous” third wave of the pandemic.
“It’s time for Jason Kenney to finally level with the people of Alberta, and release all the modelling he has for the third wave,” said Shepherd.