by Morinville News Staff
After the province’s COVID-19 update Thursday afternoon, the Alberta NDP Caucus said they were in full support of the decision to limit the size of public gatherings, but called on the government to do more.
“All Albertans have a role to play in limiting the spread of the coronavirus, and I strongly encourage Albertans to follow the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations regarding personal hygiene, social distancing, self-isolation, and limitations on travel,” said Sarah Hoffman. “The ban on gatherings of more than 250 people is good policy.”
But the NDP also called on Health Minister Tyler Shandro and the UCP government to halt mass nursing layoffs, pause changes to physician compensation, and invest in healthcare to ensure the province is “fully prepared” to confront the coronavirus pandemic.
“Whatever disagreements the Minister has with healthcare workers, he should set them aside and focus on public health because Albertans need a strong public healthcare system now more than ever before,” Hoffman said.
The NDP is also asking the UCP to prepare for the likelihood that the province will need to follow Ontario’s lead of closing the province’s schools as a temporary measure to contain the spread.
“Many workers, including healthcare workers, will not be able to work from home,” Hoffman said. We have to be prepared so that if we do close schools, we have a plan in place and don’t force healthy Albertans to stay home from doing crucial work due to the financial burden of childcare.”
They are calling on the government to provide job protection as well as financial support for working Albertans who contract the virus or self-isolate by exploring all options, including sick pay, one-time payments, or preloaded debit cards.