Posted on Jan 20, 2021
Call for the UCP Government to Present Proactive, Transparent Plan For COVID Variants
Albertans need Premier Jason Kenney to present a proactive and transparent plan to respond to emerging variants of COVID-19, which have spread rapidly in several other countries and which have been detected in Canadian provinces.
Variants identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and the United States are believed to spread faster and more easily than the dominant strain of COVID-19. After beginning to ease restrictions, the UK went into national lockdown in December as the B.1.1.7 variant swept across the country, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now predicts that the UK variant will be the dominant strain in the US in March.
Since cases of the variants were detected in Alberta, The UCP government has not provided any information or modelling about the variant in their daily COVID-19 update news releases. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the UK variant (B.1.1.7) is estimated to increase transmissibility by up to 70%, and could increase the reproductive number (R) by 0.4 or greater.
The Official Opposition is calling for the Kenney government to:
- Provide daily reporting of testing for variants and new cases detected
- Increase the rate of genetic sequencing to ten per cent of all positive tests, as the UK has done.
- Present Albertans with the province's detailed strategy to respond to the variants.
- Include officials who can provide technical information about the variants and the province’s response.
Albertans shouldn’t have to wait for someone to ask a question to hear important details about these new threats to our health system and our economy. Albertans deserve to have daily, public access to this information. - David Shepherd