It was a late Friday afternoon release from the Alberta government, as it finally posted its long-awaited report on its COVID-19 response during the first wave of the pandemic.
“I am surprised the government waited this long to publicly release it, it’s been in their hands since January,” Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt said.
The 126-page report includes five key recommendations, including an ongoing analysis and stakeholder engagement, a comprehensive review of pandemic response, supporting health-care labour capacity, increase uptake when it comes to supports for businesses and working with municipalities on responding to the pandemic.
Alberta government releases review of province’s initial response to COVID-19
“What is surprising about this is it actually is a good news story for the government. Usually you try to bury bad reports on a late Friday afternoon,” Bratt said.
Bratt believes Alberta covered the first wave quite well, but the report only goes to October 2020.
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“The problem is, Alberta was hit really hard by the second wave, which starts to kick in late October up until January and then the third wave, and this report doesn’t help us at all with that to try to figure out what went wrong,” Bratt said.
“The first wave report is out but Albertans deserve so much more accountability and transparency, including why the government is forging ahead with plans around testing, tracing and isolation,” Sarah Hoffman with the NDP Caucus said in a Saturday press conference.
The opposition NDP said because the report contains serious concerns and warnings that were never rectified, it would like to see a full independent public inquiry conducted.
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But the province said the report shows Alberta was on the right track and on par with other provinces dealing with the early stages of an unprecedented global pandemic.
It adds that the report will help inform Alberta’s approach to widespread emergencies in the future.
“We need another review to determine why they didn’t follow that same policy, that same practice when they addressed the second wave, where they responded much later, there was much greater controversy between the provincial government and various municipal governments,” Bratt said.
The $475,000 review contract was awarded to KPMG last August.
The province did not respond if it will commission a review for the second or third wave.
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