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COVID 19 Update #26 - March 13, 2021

March 15 2021

Letter to citizens – March 12,2021

Dear citizens,

Today, I will give you an update on Covid-19 in our Health Region and on a related matter.

Covid-19 update

As of today, Friday 12, 2021, we have 56 active cases for a total of 660 Covid-19 cases since March 2020. Unfortunately, this week, we lost one more patient in our Health region due to this dreaded disease. Our sincere condolences to the family and our deepest sympathy for the loss of your loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Presently, the Junior high is also experiencing an outbreak of Covid-19 including one case of the UK variant. We wish all those dealing with the disease or in quarantine a speedy recovery and hope school will resume soon for all of them.

There has been some recent discussion on some marquee signs on highway 5 and Main street. While the person who rented these signs has a message that may be well intended, it is not endorsed by the Town and the Town has no part in the purchase of the space for that message. The Town does not condone individuals sending out messaging that is confusing and not in line with the messaging coming from the Province on matters related to the Covid-19 pandemic. It creates confusion and irritation for our community and our neighbors.

The Town maintains the same position on demonstrations and/or public talks or  displays that are contrary to the Provincial health orders. The Town respects everyone’s democratic right to peacefully demonstrate and express their opinion, but it does not mean that Council as a whole or Administration endorse their point of view if contrary to Alberta Health Services or/and Emergency Services.

We are also aware of a letter from the Blood Tribe distributed on March 11, 2021 regarding the safety of members of the Blood Tribe in doing business in Cardston. The position of the Town has been consistent from the start of the pandemic a year ago this month. All businesses are to follow the regulation from Alberta Health for their particular industry. Businesses have an obligation to provide for the safety of their employees through the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This includes exposure to illness such as COVID-19.  Businesses also have an obligation to protect their customers from COVID-19 by, at the least, applying the restrictions specific to their business from Alberta Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Health.  If a business has questions about how they are to operate during the pandemic, please refer to the Alberta BizConnect online for details about your specific business practice.

The Blood Tribe, including Chief and Council, Administration and particularly Blood Tribe Department of Health have done an exceptional job of managing the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is important for those residents off-reserve to understand that the regulations and restrictions for those on reserve are more robust than the provincial orders that we follow in Town. Local State of emergency, travel restrictions and curfews, mandatory mask wearing, frequent extensive testing and strict quarantine protocols have been in place on the reserve from day 1 to avoid contamination and inter-municipal transmission. In comparison, and for the same period, our citizens were inconvenienced by much less pervasive Provincial guidelines. Let us reflect on our situation, how the restrictions affected us and appreciate the sacrifice made by members of the Blood reserve to limit the transmission of the disease and contain the sporadic outbreaks.

Now that the UK Covid variant is present in our town, and since we know that it is a more rapidly transmitted virus from person to person, it is time to become more vigilant in reviewing and following AHS guidelines with your family to keep yourself and others safe, at home and in our community. The same is true for businesses and their employees. Frequent hand washing and sanitizing, keeping your distances, wearing masks when and where necessary, avoiding non-essential travelling, large gatherings, and social parties, staying home when not feeling well and getting tested if feeling sick are still AHS guidelines. We wish all affected by Covid-19 and its UK variant in town, in the county or on the reserve a speedy and successful recovery.

A big thank you to all AHS frontline workers who are manning the vaccination clinic in town. Many seniors have received their first shot and are eagerly awaiting their second dose to complete their immunization against Covid. Please go on AHS website for further upcoming vaccination clinics.

Be safe, be kind, stay healthy!  Resist politicizing the Covid pandemic and specially avoid using social media to point fingers and potentially harm someone’s reputation. Our frustration with the pandemic is clear, but in our Health region, we need to support each other at these difficult and trying times. And yes, we need to be cautious and reflect on the long-term potential negative effect of our words and on the unintended impact of our actions on  the members of our communities.

Together, we can do it!

Let us talk about the survey regarding the rec center.

The survey results have been published in the local Temple City Star this past Thursday. If you are not a subscriber, you can obtain a copy at the local grocery store and other places in town. The results have also been published on our Town’s website.

Please be sure to understand that the results are guidelines for Council to help us better understand the needs and wants of the community in terms of indoor physical activities. As mentioned in the release, “The results were never intended to determine the outcome of Council’s decision”.  Council will discuss the survey results at our next Council meeting. Council will soon need to make a final decision regarding the approval or non-approval of the new proposed rec/community center after careful examination of all factors that will affect budgets (operational and capital) for the short and long terms.  This will encompass impact of the reduction in Provincial MSI transfers, loss of Federal Gas Tax revenues, loss of other Provincial grants; impact on new policing costs to the Town now and in subsequent years; as well as establishing a priority list of pressing local infrastructure repairs of sewer line and overhaul of sewer plant, with their associated costs.  I do not think that any council for the past 10 years had so much to consider prior to establishing a final budget and set the Mill rate. These are difficult times for us all. We will keep the taxpayer in mind as we know that many have been affected personally or at the business levels by the Covid pandemic. We are in difficult economic times now, but we can also hope for better days ahead.  No matter what decision Council makes, some taxpayers will be unsatisfied. Elections are only 7 months away. You, the taxpayer will have the last say!

Always happy to serve you,

Mayor Kronen

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Steve Gilchrist

Thank you, Mayor and council, for your exceptional leadership in these trying times. Keep up the great work!