I want to thank everyone at the City of Chestermere for such a beautiful weekend of celebrations for the Chestermere Country Fair. We had such a great time even with the rain! It was a celebration with many warm hearts on a cool September day. Thank you to everyone who came out to the parade, and to those who tried to dunk me in the dunk tank in support of the AG society in Chestermere, and a great big thank you to Carlos Foggin from the Polaris centre in Balzac, who invited my son and I and his band to play for culture days at this incredible gem hiding in the industrial area on Wagon Wheel View in Rocky View County. It was a busy but wonderful weekend.
The vast majority of Albertans, Canadians and world wide are very caring that look at how we can take care of each other. I want to apologize for so much mixed messaging, and confusion as we move into and through this fourth wave. I have been speaking with so many of you, and I am always so honoured that you are able to pull time from your very busy schedules to chat with me about many important issues.
Lets chat about school, as we are into our second week of school. CBE is reporting 130+ self-reported cases, and concerns over absenteeism due to illness is real. Kudos to our Rocky View trustees and boards who like CBE have stepped up by emailing parents regarding COVID cases. The emails are going to be very general that will speak to a grade, and not a classroom so that the information that is being sent is not directed at any particular family. It is an interesting conundrum because as you know, if a child has lice, a note is sent out to everyone in contact to stop the spread. AHS has not at this point offered any sort of outline for investigation into cases, so we hope to see AHS respond with some information about medical analysis of what has been most successful in terms of health response to help inform decisions. The autonomy of school boards is very important, and if the boards are able to work collaboratively with AHS who are the experts when it comes to the pandemic, I think all of us would be very grateful to know what we need to do. Then the boards can help with monitoring symptoms and transferring to online if that is needed. These are really simple requests in my opinion. I hope to see rapid testing brought in, and as a society we need hope that there is a way to live with this virus. Kids who are sick need to stay home, and though I know this is not easy on working families, we need to make sure that we are not spreading this virus to others, especially those who have not been vaccinated. Kids who are not sick need to be in school. I believe that we need contact tracing for positive cases in schools, and access to rapid testing kits. Schools are not health experts, and we are all in this together, so lets work together.
Did you know we are postponing surgeries? We have to know that we are bringing the system to its knees, and our doctors, nurses, and first responders are exhausted. AHS is trying to find doctors and nurses to work in the ICU—There are 169 patients in ICU, and 158 are there due to COVID .That is a lot of patients, and those patients with COVID require a tremendous amount of resources. The specialists who work in this field, especially respiratory therapists, doctors and nurses are a finite group of talented individuals who are being pushed to the brink by these outbreaks. Please send them all your love as we go through the 4th wave.
I also had the chance to speak with many small businesses. We have to know that they are carrying the burden of so many of the protocols that come from our medical experts in trying to control the spread of the virus. This is completely unfair in my opinion, and the businesses need to be able to do what they can to keep their staff and patrons safe. This is another place where rapid testing would be a solution to helping them to manage those who are visiting their places of business and to minimize spread for those who may not have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. We are all in this together.
I respect your right to choose, and everyone has been doing their own work in researching what is in their best interests. Every decision has a consequence, and in order to honour choice, I would like to have access to my health records and vaccination records so that I can travel even just to Manitoba, or BC. I have family and friends all across this magnificent country and I want to be able to go to Montreal and visit and be able to protect all around me as I do so. I know there are many voices with differing points of view on this, and I am a firm believer in vaccines, in our scientists, and I want to get back to life. I hope that we as a province can come to some sort of consensus as to how we move forward. I know that the province I grew up in is one where we took every opportunity to take care of each other. Please go and get your vaccination and please be kind to each other.