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Health Minister to speak after local state of emergency declared

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday February 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

FORT MCMURRAY — A state of local emergency remains in place for The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).

Premier Jason Kenney said his government will try to get more vaccines to Fort McMurray, but added the uptake on first doses sent to the area has been about half of the Alberta average.

Kenney speculated that clinics and pharmacies may not have been convenient enough or that there’s an issue of vaccine hesitancy in some of the surrounding First Nations.

Fort McMurray Mayor Don Scott said “it’s a young region and many people don’t qualify to receive those vaccines yet.”

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw will meet with local officials Tuesday to discuss the high COVID-19 numbers.

Meanwhile, Alberta still has the highest rate of infection for COVID-19 in the country and some doctors are warning the hospitalizations and deaths are will increase.

Dr. Gabrial Fabreau at the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary said he’s dreading his next shift because “its about to get really, really bad.”

Health Canada said Ontario has an active case rate of 277 cases per 100,000 people where as Alberta has 455 cases per 100,000.

Starting Tuesday, the Ontario government is getting reinforcements to help fight COVID-19, including help from the Canadian Armed Forces and a medical team flying in from Newfoundland.