Posted on May 13, 2021
CONTACT TRACING OVERWHELMED AGAIN, SAYS AHS MEMO
EDMONTON - Jason Kenney and the UCP have once again allowed Alberta’s contact tracing system to be overwhelmed, leaving small business owners responsible for their own contact tracing, according to an internal AHS memo obtained by the Alberta NDP Caucus.
The memo shared on April 29, 2021 entitled ‘Resource Updates and New Additions to Support Increasing Caseloads’ states: “Non-High risk workplace follow up will now be done by the case and their employer. There is no longer handover to the Workplace/Events/Sports team for Non-high risk workplaces. Case investigators will continue to follow up with High risk workplaces using our existing processes.”
A new page has been populated through the AHS website that provides template emails and text messages for employers to send to their employees if they have been exposed and requirements for isolation.
“This should be the work of our public health care system, not the work of small business owners,” said David Shepherd, NDP Critic for Health. “Once again our public healthcare system has been overwhelmed by case numbers and under-resourcing from the UCP.”
“I am extremely troubled to see that our contact tracing system is collapsing once again because of Jason Kenney’s decision to act last and act least,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Alberta has the highest infection rate of anywhere in Canada and the United States, and more than four times as many active cases as British Columbia. Jason Kenney has failed to learn from his mistakes.”
At the height of the second wave of COVID-19 in November, Alberta’s contact tracing system was overwhelmed and many cases were simply abandoned. This led to Albertans being asked to notify their own close contacts, and teachers doing their own contact tracing when cases were reported in their classrooms. Some cases were traced weeks later.
“Last fall as the second wave crashed into Alberta, the Premier allowed our contact tracing system to be overwhelmed. Thousands of cases were abandoned because this UCP government refused to provide the resources to investigate them,” said Notley. “Jason Kenney and the UCP must not be dumping contact tracing onto small businesses. They must staff up immediately and make sure that we can keep Albertans safe.”