Alberta NDP calls on province to do more for long-haul COVID-19 sufferers
Rachel Notley asks UCP government to set up new task force on the condition
The Alberta NDP is calling on the province to create more supports and resources for Albertans suffering from long-term COVID symptoms.
Leader Rachel Notley says the government should create a COVID-19 task force made up of researchers and scientists focused on developing solutions to health-care challenges related to long-haul COVID.
She says similar task forces already exist for cancer care, cardiovascular health, addiction and mental health, and other areas.
"This group would be tasked with closely tracking the percentage of Albertans who have long-term COVID symptoms," she said.
"It would support research, it would provide resources and it would provide support for patients. And it would bring forward proposals on how to avoid long, drawn out battles with either WCB or other income supporting agencies."
Notley also said Premier Jason Kenney or his health minister should acknowledge the existence of long COVID in the legislature to dispel the stigma that surrounds it and "to lay out their plans to support Albertans who are living with this condition."
Stacey Robins, an entrepreneur and artist, says she has been suffering from long COVID for nearly 20 months.
The symptoms were bad enough that Robins had to shut down her business.
"If I had access to retraining grants, it would make the world of difference not only to me but to the many that suffer from long-haul COVID and those who have had to abandon the work they did before suffering from long-haul," she said.
"We must treat this as what it is: a mass disabling event. We are disabled, we cannot pick our good days and we can't pick our bad days."
Alberta Health Services recently said about 20 per cent of those diagnosed with COVID-19 will have symptoms that continue over the long term.
With files from Lucie Edwardson