Wednesday, October 13, 2021
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Albertans flood social media, upset about COVID emergency alert

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – Did you hear the loud sound of an emergency alert on Friday? Many people did and some folks are quite upset.

Around 5:00 pm Friday, an Alberta Emergency Alert was sent out by the province to update Albertans on new COVID-19 restrictions in place for a number of different communities, including Lethbridge.

The alert was sent to mobile devices and interrupted programming on local radio and TV stations.

Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that an alert would be forthcoming, however that’s still not sitting well with some folks.

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Posts on social media accuse the government of misusing the emergency alert system by sending out this notification. Many say it should only be used for things like warning people of wildfires and when there’s an Amber Alert for an abducted child.

Mass emails were sent to media outlets as well with people upset about the alert.

The following is part of just one of several emails our newsroom received:

”I am appalled at the government’s use of the Emergency Alert System this afternoon. That system is meant to be used for time sensitive, immediate emergencies where lives are in imminent danger and swift action is imperative. Not to send out propagandist messages from a government who just told us the exact same things YESTERDAY. Whatever you think of the legitimacy of the content of the message, using the EMERGENCY ALERT system to spread it was inappropriate and irresponsible.”

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The provincial government sent a statement to our newsroom which reads:

“Alberta, as well as other provinces, have used emergency alerts for the pandemic previously. With Alberta seeing the highest level of active cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and new restrictions for localized areas, it was prudent to ensure all Albertans are aware of the health measures in place to prevent further spread of COVID-19.”

The alert focused on targeted regional restrictions and online school for middle and high school students for at least the next two weeks which the government announced on Thursday.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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