By Letter to the Editor on June 4, 2020.
In this time of COVID there is a reality that has been completely ignored by key players in public health, government and media: rural Alberta is ready for a full relaunch.
As presented in Alberta COVID statistics, the overwhelming majority of rural municipalities have had extremely limited or zero cases of the virus, and most have long since recovered. For weeks we have been enduring restrictions that have been unnecessary. After our uneventful April it was clear that all of our businesses, recreation facilities and schools could have safely restarted in early May.
While still encouraging those most at risk to continue to practise safety measures, let’s allow individual common sense to come to the fore. Uneasy about sending your child back to school? Continue home schooling. Think going to church or using the gym is unsafe? Then stay home. Personal responsibility is the answer.
The reason behind quarantine was to “flatten the curve.” Rural Alberta accomplished that months ago. The goal is not to keep everyone from getting sick. That is unattainable and unrealistic. As was shown by the April spike in cases at Cargill/JBS, our health-care system is more than capable of handling even a large jump in cases. Rate of hospitalizations remained low. Very few of those infected, without underlying conditions, end up in hospital or ICU. Stop the scaremongering.
I believe a regional approach to a full relaunch can be initiated immediately in the rural jurisdictions. Leave it up to each municipality to decide how it shall proceed based upon local considerations. It is illogical to expect ALL of Alberta to wait for Stage 3 because of Calgary, High River/Cargill and Brooks. We will not be inundated with residents from these communities wanting to use our facilities. Furthermore, “we are all in this together” is now banal, and for us, pointless.
Rural Alberta requires more enlightened consideration. We’ve run out of reasons to be patient.