Posted on Mar 26, 2021
PHILLIPS PROPOSES COVID RESPONSE PLAN FOR LETHBRIDGE AS CASES RISE
LETHBRIDGE - MLA for Lethbridge-West Shannon Phillips is proposing a COVID-19 response plan as cases skyrocket in the city and the UCP refuse to act.
Lethbridge currently has the highest rate of active cases among the province’s major cities. The rate of active cases in Lethbridge is over four times higher than Edmonton’s and two and a half times higher than Calgary’s. However, the UCP government has not put forward any plans to limit the spread of COVID in the city.
“As case numbers rise, we’ve heard nothing from the UCP about how they plan to limit the spread of COVID and keep people safe,” said Phillips. “Meanwhile, people are getting sick and small businesses are worried about the impact this will have on them. We need the government to step up and provide leadership if we’re going to prevent a third wave.”
Phillips’ plan includes:
- A daily briefing from South Zone Medical Director until case counts return to end of second wave levels. The briefing should include specific precautions for Lethbridge residents to reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially with the more contagious variant strains.
- A daily reporting of R-value in the South Zone.
- More support for small businesses through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG)
- Expansion of COVID Care Teams to Lethbridge.
There is currently $130 million unspent in the SMERG budget that lapses on March 31. Phillips is proposing that money be rolled over the new fiscal year with looser targeted regional criteria where case counts are higher, such as Lethbridge.
Currently, the only regions with specific R value reporting are Calgary and Edmonton. R-value reporting for Lethbridge will allow residents and healthcare professionals to understand the severity of COVID in the community and take appropriate measures to stem the spread of the virus.
“This plan will provide transparency and support - two things that are sorely lacking from the UCP,” said Phillips. “The end of the pandemic is within reach, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. The better we can control the spread of COVID, the sooner we can return to normal life. But we need a serious and credible plan to get there.”