80% of COVID-19 deaths were seniors in care facilities.
They died, not because of their age, but because their care and accommodation were unsafe.
Mr. Kenny’s insistence that their average age was 83, whereas average life expectancy is 82 is just blaming the victims. At age 80, StatsCan tells me I can expect to live another 10 years.
The only comprehensive history of Alberta’s health care system is a 2012 unpublished work by Wendy Armstrong.
Her work starts with the acknowledgment that social and political conflict has marked the history of the development of public healthcare in Canada, particularly in Alberta.
While there has been consistent and overwhelming public support for a publicly funded and administered healthcare system, successive Alberta
governments and elites have continued to view and court private market alternatives.
As a consequence of this tacit support for private enterprise, often presented in tandem with Victorian notions of moral discipline and
poorhouse charity, health policy in Alberta has often focused on grafting commercial values and opportunities onto the public health system.
Pushback from the Alberta public, however, has also been part of the landscape.
I‘ve been MIA since early September; I’m healing now but have limited energy, just back to say so sorry to have missed you! But in truth, as far as Care Watch seniors’ concerns, nothing has changed, it has just gotten worse.
Across the country, the inevitable second wave of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc among seniors, and shamefully, here in Alberta as well.
“COVID kills seniors. Kenney doesn’t care.”
The evidence is so clear.
He brushes off the deaths by saying those folks were just about as old as the average age of death. Age didn’t kill those people; unsafe care and accommodation did.
And that is the responsibly of our care system, our governments over the last 40 years, and each of us.
Kenney misrepresents expected life expectancy as predictive regardless of date of birth; fails to consider the collateral deaths reflected in the excess deaths, and most recently, asserts that “coronavirus… was on pace to be the 11th- leading cause of death in Alberta in 2020”, as though that’s true and an excuse.
Premier Kenney urges Albertans to forego parties and social gatherings in their homes, and Seniors Minister Pon tells us to be kind.
There’s plenty of evidence that we are in a crisis situation, and seniors, especially those in care facilities and the staff who care for them, are the most vulnerable.
• Alberta reported a record 20 deaths on Monday and 10,031 active cases. The previous record for deaths in a single day tied to COVID-19 in the province was 10. The majority of the deaths were connected to care home outbreaks in the Edmonton and Calgary areas.
• 73 per cent of cases have an unknown source of transmission.
• Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said cases in the province are growing exponentially and are straining the system. There are 264 people in hospital, 57 of whom are in intensive care.
• Another 860 new cases were reported Monday, with a provincial positivity rate of seven per cent.
• With each new case having an average of 15 close contacts, that means more than 10,000 close contacts per day and contact tracers are unable to keep up, Hinshaw said.
• There are 1,046 active cases in schools and 65 schools are on the watch list. In-school transmission has happened in 151 schools.
• Three cases are tied to a new outbreak at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Grande Prairie.
• Pharmaceutical company Moderna said Monday its vaccine appears to be 94.5 per cent effective against COVID-19, according to preliminary data from the company’s ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own vaccine appeared similarly effective.
• The province has one of the highest active case rates in the country. Almost daily, Alberta is seeing record numbers of new cases, active cases and, perhaps most ominously, hospitalization and intensive
care unit occupancy rates.
• There are more than 4,100 cases each in Edmonton and Calgary.
• On Sunday, the chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, Tom Sampson, called for a 28- day “circuit breaker” lockdown, adding it should happen now to salvage the holiday season. A circuit breaker lockdown is a short period of more stringent restrictions with a defined end point where non-essential services are shut down in order to reduce spread, allowing the system to catch up to the number of cases.
• His call came two days after Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi joined Sampson at a news conference and implored people to take more actions now to contain the spread of COVID-19, warning them not to wait until the province mandates more restrictions. “Things are unbelievably bad. They are much worse than they’ve been at any point during this pandemic, and we’re going in the wrong direction,” Nenshi said.
• On Thursday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced heightened restrictions for two weeks. From last Friday to Nov. 27, in much of the province, the government suspended indoor group fitness programs, team sports and group performance activities, and reduced operating hours for restaurants, bars and pubs in much of the province.
• Kenney also repeated his call for personal responsibility, strongly urging Albertans living in any area under enhanced measures not to have social gatherings in their homes. While the measure was voluntary, he warned it might become mandatory and be backed up by fines.
• However, the measures were much less strong than those urged by a group of more than 430 Alberta physicians and three major health-care unions, which sent a letter to Kenney Thursday endorsing the idea of a “circuit-breaker” lockdown.
• The Calgary Catholic School District says it has 119 students and 16 staff members listed as testing positive, causing more than 4,000 students and teachers to self-isolate after being in close contact with an infected person. The district is struggling to keep up with demand for substitute teachers.
• AHS has introduced an online contact tracing tool that will notify close contacts of positive cases by automated text message.
…Contact tracers are overwhelmed, and it’s seen in the transmission numbers — with 73 per cent of active cases coming from unknown sources. Hinshaw said every new case means, on average, 15 close contacts — or more than 10,000 a day — and tracers can’t keep up…