PRESS RELEASE: Alberta workers mark COVID-19 pandemic anniversary with call for Long-COVID care

EDMONTON – Working Albertans gathered on the Legislature grounds to mark the third anniversary of the declaration of COVID-19 as a worldwide pandemic. The 5,000-plus Albertans who have died of COVID-19 were memorialized with a display of hand-crafted paper flowers.

“It’s fitting that this memorial is organized by working Albertans,” said Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) president Gil McGowan. “Many workers were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace through insufficient protective equipment, bad ventilation, or simply because it was their job to care for the sick.”

Those gathered at the memorial stressed the need for care for Albertans suffering from Long-COVID. At the beginning of 2022, Alberta Health Services estimated that as many as 68,200 Albertans may have developed COVID-19 symptoms that last beyond 12 weeks.

“It’s crucial that these Albertans aren’t left behind by their provincial government and their health care system,” said United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) president Heather Smith. “Workers with Long-COVID sufferers deserve the supports to keep their household bills paid, the care to recover from this condition, and the research to treat this in the future.”

“We have the tools and know what has to happen to reduce the risk of Long-COVID, which isn’t going away anytime soon.” said Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) board member and respiratory therapist, Chandra Arsenault. “It’s the responsibility of a government to have a strategy to help those affected and prevent more from suffering from this disease.”

– 30 –

John Ashton
Director of Communications, AFL