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Smith announces funds for families affected by E. Coli outbreak at Calgary daycares

CALGARY — The Alberta government will immediately provide families $2,000 for each child affected by an E. coli outbreak related to several Calgary daycares, Premier Danielle Smith said Friday. 

“Families are having a tough time with a lot of disruptions. Some have spent days and nights watching their children in pain in the hospital or sick at home, and we understand that this has put families under a lot of stress and a lot of financial stress,” Smith said. 

“We want to help ease as much of that stress as we can. And that includes the financial strain this has caused due to parents being away from work and caring for their kids.”

Smith cried at the news conference as she described the anguish and broken trust affected families must be feeling, at one point taking a long pause to regain her composure. 

She said the province would also look into new regulations for shared kitchens and food safety.

Investigators were still looking for the source of the outbreak, but health officials have said it almost certainly came from a central kitchen used by the daycares.

Smith’s announcement comes a day after parents with children in the daycares sent an open letter asking Smith to do more to deal with the situation.

As of Friday, there have been 337 lab-confirmed cases of the bacterial infection related to the outbreak that was declared on Sept. 4.

Twelve children were still in hospital, 10 of whom have hemolytic uremic syndrome — a complication affecting the blood and kidneys.

Six of those children were receiving dialysis.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 15, 2023. 

The Canadian Press