Alberta’s premier to join health minister, health officials for E. coli outbreak update

Eleven days after an E. coli outbreak was declared in Calgary daycares, Alberta’s premier will be joining provincial and health officials for an update on the outbreak.

It comes a day after parents and families affected by the outbreak sent an open letter to Premier Danielle Smith asking, “What are you going to do to protect our most vulnerable citizens and support their families?”

The update will be streamed in this story at 9:30 a.m.

Smith will be joined by Health Minister Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Child and Family Services Searle Turton, chief medical officer of health Dr. Mark Joffe, and Calgary-area health officials.

Friday’s update will be the first time the premier will speak publicly about one of the largest E. coli outbreaks in the country’s history.

Click to play video: 'Alberta health minister addresses concerns over E. coli outbreak response'

Alberta health minister addresses concerns over E. coli outbreak response

Smith had previously expressed her “thoughts and prayers” for families affected by the outbreak, and asked for an “assessment” of the outbreak from LaGrange and Turton to prevent a repeat.

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Alberta Health Services declared an outbreak on Sept. 4.

In their open letter, the parents said they wanted to know why the premier has not commented publicly. They also expressed disappointment about a prior update from the health minister, minister of child and family services, and health officials.

“The recent press conference revealed nothing to regain our trust in the government’s ability to respond adequately to this situation,” the letter read.

On Thursday, AHS said there were 329 lab-confirmed cases linked to the outbreak, including 22 cases of secondary transmission in households connected to the outbreak.

There were 13 children in hospital, with eight discharged the previous day. At the outbreak’s peak, 27 patients were in hospital.

Eleven patients were still confirmed as having hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kidney- and blood-related severe complication, and six kids were still on dialysis. AHS said eight had recovered from HUS since Wednesday and one no longer required dialysis.

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“The centralized kitchen that supplied food to the impacted daycares remains closed until further notice,” AHS said.

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