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Alberta mayor talks to Kenney, says vaccine eligibility key to local COVID-19 crisis

An aerial view of Fort Chipewyan, on the boundary of Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta,CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

EDMONTON – The mayor of the region that includes Fort McMurray says he has spoken with Premier Jason Kenney to find ways to fight a COVID-19 crisis that has brought on a state of local emergency.

Don Scott of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo says he’s hoping for solutions, including vaccine availability, to address a pandemic that is putting hospitals under pressure.

Scott says Fort McMurray, which is home to the oilsands, has many young workers and families, and he says one of the problems is that too few residents are qualifying for a vaccination.

READ MORE: Northern Alberta municipality to declare state of emergency due to COVID-19

Wood Buffalo council passed a motion on Sunday approving the state of emergency.

Scott says he expects it will be legally finalized later today, which will give council more powers to address the pandemic.

The region has already sent home all students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to learn online and is adding more beds in the hospital intensive care ward.