Is this the new normal Premier King was talking about?
Bonshaw, PE – When Premier King announced we were “moving on” from COVID earlier this year, he said we need to learn to live in a new normal. This year we saw our first COVID deaths – now numbering 81 in total. Last week the Official Opposition noted we are seeing respiratory illnesses drive a spike in hospitalizations for children and seniors here and across Canada. Businesses continue to struggle with absenteeism, schools have above-normal numbers of staff and students out sick, ERs are overwhelmed and our frontline workers are begging for help.
“When Premier King announced his plan to move to a new normal, is this what he was talking about?” asked Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus.
The Chief Public Health Officer has been consistent in her advice to help prevent and manage COVID and other respiratory illnesses. However, the Premier’s commitment to preventing illness among Islanders has not been as consistent.
“The CPHO has been encouraging Islanders to get vaccinated for COVID and for the flu,” said Bevan-Baker. “Dr. Morrison is also recommending Islanders stay home if they are feeling sick. This is all excellent advice and Premier King must do much more to help Islanders follow that advice.”
The Official Opposition is calling on Premier King to open vaccine clinics in schools to improve vaccine uptake and make it easier for parents looking to get their kids vaccinated. According to a government survey last flu season, 46% of Island parents indicated a preference for a school-based clinic. Given the King government knows this, there is no reason why these clinics are not already up and running.
“One of the reasons our early pandemic response was successful was because the Premier was willing to communicate openly, honestly, and frequently with the public about the importance of working together to protect each other from illness,” said Bevan-Baker. “Despite now seeing poor outcomes across the board—increased cases of respiratory illness, increased hospitalizations, and low vaccination rates—we are not seeing the Premier encouraging Islanders to once again work together to prevent illness and reduce the strain on our healthcare system.”
This is why the Official Opposition is calling on Premier King to speak directly and plainly to Islanders about the state of healthcare on PEI, the risk level for COVID and other respiratory illnesses, and the ability of our healthcare system to manage the increased pressure from an elevated and dangerous spike in these illnesses.
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