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Athabasca Tribal Council calling for immediate enhanced COVID-19 measures

IMAGE. Supplied by the Athabasca Tribal Council.

FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) – The Athabasca Tribal Council had some harsh words for the provincial government in a call to immediately implement stronger COVID-19 restrictions to fight the fourth wave of the pandemic.

According to the latest statistics from the province, active infections have risen to 320 in Fort McMurray and 28 in the surrounding region. To date, 20 Wood Buffalo residents have died.

Chief Allan Adam, President of Athabasca Tribal Council and Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, stated in a press release that this continued crisis is resulting in rising numbers of lost lives and an imminent crash of the public health system.

“As Chiefs, we have governed our Nations throughout the entirety of this pandemic and we are concerned that all of the sacrifices of the past 19 months will be in vain if immediate leadership isn’t taken to correct this dangerous course we are on,” he said.

“This government is not taking their responsibility seriously and there is an apparent lack of leadership. Instead, they are relying on individual businesses, organizations and Indigenous Nations to make decisions that are independent of an overall strategy that is desperately needed.”

Chief Adam called the measures currently in place “piecemeal” and said now is the time to act.

“Our healthcare system is hovering well above capacity without the surge actions put in place, in the range of 180% as reported,” he said.

“Our province is seeing increasing deaths every day with a tragic 34 announced on Thursday.”

Athabasca Tribal Council CEO Karla Buffalo stated, “I am extremely disappointed to see the lack of quick actions by the Provincial government to provide adequate support and public health measures that are necessary to help reduce infection rates and the rising number of hospitalizations and deaths.”

The ATC is calling upon Premier Kenney to take the following actions immediately:

  1. Stronger public health measures, including a circuit-breaker lockdown, to restrict movement amongst the general public, while still allowing essential services and businesses to operate safely.

  2. Protect our youth and children in our schools with a provincial-wide school safety plan in advance of the Thanksgiving weekend.

  3. Reinstate robust contact tracing measures to allow for the full understanding of transmission throughout our communities and to ensure limited spread is taking place.