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Alberta

Angry about COVID-19? – Premier’s response to Albertans furious about the province’s relaunch strategy

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From Premier Jason Kenney

I know there’s many who are angry about restrictions still being in place on business operations, whether in Calgary or Brooks, or elsewhere across the province. I also know there are others who think we’re moving too fast.

I want everyone to know that I would love nothing more than to open everything up, go back to the way it was before COVID-19, and pretend like it never happened.

But we simply can’t do that. Other jurisdictions that have opened everything up without any precautions have seen massive outbreaks spark back up, creating unmanageable pressure on their health care systems. This has happened in some places in the U.S. like Alabama, and even in countries who previously had it under control like Singapore. That then forced these places to clamp down twice as hard and close parts of the economy all over again.

We do not want to do that in Alberta. We want to open up carefully, confidently, and permanently so we don’t lose all the progress we’ve made thus far in containing the virus.

That’s why, in the interest of our economy and public health, we will always make informed decisions, with cool heads, on the latest available medical evidence we have. That’s the surest path to getting a foothold on this virus, and ensuring we can get back to a version of normal where we protect both lives and livelihoods.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Alberta removing two COVID-19 symptoms that required people under 18 to isolate

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s top doctor says the province will be removing two symptoms from its COVID-19 checklist for people under the age of 18 that required mandatory isolation.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says they include runny nose and sore throat.

She says starting Monday, if someone under the age of 18 has one of those symptoms they are encouraged to monitor themselves for 24 hours.

If symptoms improve, they don’t need to get tested and can return to normal activity, including attending school or participating in sport groups.

Hinshaw says the change to the checklist follows similar ones made in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

She says more than 3,400 children and youth who were tested last week for COVID-19 reported having a sore throat, but more than 700 of them had a sore throat as their only symptom, and less than one per cent of their tests came back positive.

Alberta reported 477 new COVID-19 cases in Thursday’s update and five new deaths.

There are 4,921 active cases with 130 in hospital and 18 in intensive care.

Hinshaw also reminded Albertans to practise cautious social distancing this Halloween weekend.

“Unfortunately, after every holiday during the pandemic, we have seen a rise in the number of cases one to two weeks later,” she said.

“This weekend, I am asking Albertans as clearly and strongly as possible to please be wise and be safe.”

Hinshaw said this is not the year for large Halloween parties and noted that Calgary and Edmonton have social gatherings limited to 15 people.

“Eat candy, brush your teeth, watch your favourite scary movie, spend time with your household and your cohorts.”

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 20201029181052-5f9b4831b34b6af22442776ajpeg.jpg, Caption: Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. Alberta’s top doctor says the province will be removing two symptoms from their COVID-19 checklist for people under the age of 18.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw says runny nose and sore throat are on the list of symptoms that require mandatory isolation for children. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson –>

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Alberta

Have Alberta’s Skilled Workers had Enough?

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The Canadian oil and gas industry suffered another blow on Sunday, October 25, when Cenovus Energy Inc. announced a $3.8 billion merger with 82-year old Canadian oil and gas company, Husky Energy. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Husky is projected to lose up to 25% of its workforce as a result of the merger, approximately 2,150 jobs – mainly in Calgary. 

The news, which fell on Alberta’s increasingly restless population of unemployed workers and struggling families, many of whom believe Alberta has been left out in the cold for far too long already, has fueled ongoing discussions of a provincial brain drain. 

Simply put, brain drain is defined as “the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector or field, usually for better pay or living conditions”. Recent statistics show this concept is rapidly gaining traction in Alberta as residents seek to escape the increasingly grim economic landscape to pursue opportunities elsewhere, beyond the provincial borders. 

As Canada’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, Alberta is no stranger to the boom and bust nature of the industry, experiencing cyclical periods of economic prosperity influenced by global conditions followed by detrimental crashes and ensuing hard times. Prior to this year, Alberta experienced a major economic crash in 2015, with the Canadian oil and gas industry suffering a $91 billion loss in revenue and layoffs reaching 35,000 workers in Alberta alone (1).

In the last 5 years, countless Albertans have struggled to regain their footing on shaky economic and political grounds, suffering substantial losses and insecurity. In this setting, the catastrophic impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with pipeline delays and ongoing cuts in the Canadian oil and gas sector have left many Albertans with the feeling of being kicked while already down. 

According to the Government of Alberta Economic Dashboard, the price of oil for many Alberta oil producers fell 36.6% from September 2019, averaging $28.43 USD per barrel in September 2020, according to the Western Canada Select (WCS) price. The coinciding unemployment rate in Alberta was 11.7% in September 2020, down from its 15.5% spike in May 2020, but still 6.6% higher than in September 2019 (2).  

At this point, it seems a number of Albertans have simply had enough. According to The Alberta Annual Population Report 2019/20, “Alberta’s interprovincial migration patterns are heavily influenced by the economic conditions in the province, and as the economy cooled, the province experienced net outflows.” The report shows that 2,733 residents left Alberta between April and June 2020. 

The loss of another 2,150 oil and gas jobs as a result of the Cenovus merger comes as a disappointing yet predictable defeat for industry workers who have remained “down on their luck” for many years in Alberta. Effectively decimating industries worldwide, the pandemic has also successfully pulled the rug from beneath Alberta’s shaky footing, tanking oil and gas once more and leaving countless skilled workers with nowhere to go but out.

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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