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Ontario pleas for health-care assistance from provinces, but Kenney government doesn't have any to spare

Last Updated Apr 16, 2021 at 6:50 pm MDT

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — As Ontario is looking for help amid the third wave of COVID-19, Alberta says it is not in a position to provide help right now.

This comes after Ontario Premier Doug Ford asked Premier Jason Kenney to send healthcare workers for support.

It was part of a letter sent to all provinces and territories as infections continue to hit record numbers in Ontario.

The plea comes after revised modelling shows there could be as high as 18,000 daily infections in that province by the end of May.

READ MORE: Ford extends stay-at-home order 2 more weeks, gives police further powers in COVID clampdown

A statement from Premier Kenney’s office says the government’s priority is to help Albertans first and we are also experiencing a very sharp rise in cases.

The statement continues that it’s not viable right now because we are also in the midst of a third wave.

“However, with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on a sharp rise here in Alberta, we are simply not in a position to send our health care workers outside the province at this time.”

Heather Smith, president of United Nurses of Alberta agrees that it was the right decision by the premier to make.

“Alberta actually has — on a population basis — higher daily positive numbers than Ontario is having at this time. And I suspect that we are going to be some facing a pretty grim situation here in the province in the next couple of weeks,” Smith said.

Early during the pandemic, Kenney’s office said they sent out a surplus of personal protective equipment to provinces like Ontario but there aren’t any to spare.

READ MORE: Vaccines, restrictions, and Stampede: An interview with Alberta’s Health Minister

Smith adds the province is dealing with its own shortages.

“I mean we have already our own challenges around resources and staffing in our system, we had it before COVID so it’s only been magnified,” she said.

And when it comes to our own workers, Alberta could be close to the same situation as Ontario is in right now.

“We don’t have excess resources that we can share with other provinces. In fact, we may be in a position of having to write the same kind of letter in a while,” Smith added.

But it isn’t an entirely grim situation as Kenney’s office says they will continue to have discussions with the Ontario government on how Alberta might support them going forward.