Alberta is having a hard time.
We now have more COVID cases than at any other time so far; and they are expanding rapidly. Our per capita rate of increase is now higher than that of India.
We have the highest rate of infection in Canada.
And I know that many who get infected don’t even bother to report it.
So the current 30,000 cases are not all.
Many feel, “So what, it is just a flu.”
But we know that of those who get it, four per cent will end up in hospital and a portion of those in ICU.
With about 160 in ICU now and cases growing, more will be.
In a normal year we have about 250 ICU beds; 160 are now full.
We can’t fill them all with COVID patients because people still have other health issues.
Once we reach 300 ICU patients the system will have to start to triage — that means ration treatment to only certain individuals.
They will be denied treatment. On what criteria should that be: age, complex health issues, body-mass-index, the disease?
Vaccines are still the only real way to stop this. They worked for polio, measles and other devastating diseases.
Many people get shots to travel to ‘at risk’ countries just for a holiday.
The only other protection is to not come into contact with someone who is infected.
I recall the historical writing of Andy Russel, a well-known southern Albertan referring to the early trappers.
They seldom got colds or flus out on the trap line all winter because the air was clear and they never met anyone who could infect them. Even the trappers knew this.
Every producer knows that animals – chickens, hogs, cows — crowded together spread disease to each other and so producers use antibiotics and vaccines to try and control it.
Well, people together spread COVID to each other.
So please, stop it.
I stay home except for the very essentials.
MLAs are staying home for the next two weeks to avoid spread around the province. I got vaccinated, just like your cow or your dog. You should too because so far only 35 per cent of our herd is protected.
I admit, the government like everyone, has struggled to get this right.
I have asked for a regional approach which government delivered last week.
I respect the government for this and give credit where credit is due.
Now people, it is time to do our part – voluntarily. Rural Alberta is clearly not immune to this. Don’t be one of those who spreads COVID to others or who ends up an ICU bed taker.
Someone else may need it.