Alberta NDP urging UCP government to reverse healthcare cuts in wake of COVID-19 outbreak
Published Wednesday, March 11, 2020 6:34PM MDT Last Updated Thursday, March 12, 2020 12:53PM MDT
Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta's Official Opposition, says the Kenney government's health-care cuts will hurt the province's fight against COVID-19.
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- In a letter to the UCP government, the Alberta NDP has demanded health-care cuts reversed, to better help the province fight the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus.
"We should be hiring more nurses before the pandemic of coronavirus spreads significantly," Official Opposition leader Rachel Notley told reporters Wednesday.
She believes the province would not be equipped to fight the COVID-19 pandemic should the cuts remain in place. Last month’s provincial budget cut 750 full time nursing positions for Apr. 1.
"This is not the time to be injecting instability and chaos and a reduction of resources into our health care system," said Notley. "We are concerned about problems with respect to understaffing."
"In the past 24 hours, we have seen the number of coronavirus cases double and indications from the officials say those numbers will continue to grow in the days ahead," said Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips.
The Alberta NDP believes the provincial government should be investing in more treatment beds.
Although she recognizes the government’s effort in alerting Albertans on the issue, Notley feels the UCP government must learn from what other countries are doing to eradicate the virus.
"We only have to look at the situation in the United States where testing has been one of the biggest challenges to the containment of the virus," she said.
"With no vaccine for this virus likely to be available for a year or more, to protect the population we need to protect each other," said Alberta's chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
Alberta Health Services reminds the population basic hygiene practices are the best way to prevent contracting the coronavirus.
These practices include covering your coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face and washing your hands as needed.