Lethbridge mayor calls rising COVID numbers ‘wakeup call’ for everyone

LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. — Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman said the rising COVID numbers should be a wakeup call for everyone, after the city and county were placed on the COVID watch list by the province Tuesday.

“We don’t want to overreact,” Spearman said, “but we want to emphasize it’s so important we follow the medical guidelines. People are frustrated. They want to see their relatives. They want to see their friends. They want life to return to normal – but it’s also important to maintain public health. We all have a responsibility to do that together.”

There are several outbreaks in the city including the Extendicare Fairmont Park with two active cases, Lethbridge Family Services with six cases, four of those active, Cavendish Farms with 10 cases, Children’s House Child Care Society with 18 active cases and Meridian Manufacturing with 10 active cases.

“This is very much a concern,” said Spearman. “We don’t want to judge anyone and want to believe everyone is making their best efforts but I think having some early examples of outbreaks is maybe a lesson to all employers to double down to make sure their businesses aren’t under threat of closure.”

Cavendish Farms has been shut down for planned maintenance since Oct. 9. Officials said the facility has undergone a full sanitization and disinfection and is scheduled to reopen Monday. All ten people affected are self-isolating at home.

The company’s vice-president of communications, Mary Keith, said they’ve put measures in place to protect their employees and customers.

“We follow very rigorous guidelines as it relates to food safety,” Keith said. “We want to ensure the ongoing safety of employees and the community.” She added that some staff are working from home while those at the facility were wearing masks and separated by plexiglass.

The 112 active COVID cases is the most in Lethbridge since the pandemic started.

According to Alberta Health, a watch status puts regions above the threshold for COVID-19 cases, but no additional measures are taken.

The City of Lethbridge wants to keep business open and most importantly, added the mayor, their residents safe.

“Please follow the guidelines from the medical officer of health,” said Spearman. “This could be a turning point with the numbers rising.”

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