New figures show Alberta’s fight against COVID-19 hit more than $5 billion by the end of the last fiscal year in March.

The money went toward continuing care, hospitals, testing, vaccine distribution, personal protective equipment, and grants and aid for businesses and workers.

The numbers are part of the final report on 2020-21 finances delivered by Finance Minister Travis Toews.

The year ended with a $17-billion deficit on $60 billion in spending.

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Taxpayer-supported debt sat at $93 billion.

The report says the pandemic bludgeoned Alberta’s resource-based economy: real G-D-P fell by 8.2 per cent and unemployment rose to 11.4 per cent.

The province says better times appear to be on the horizon.

Oil prices are rising in the short term and multiple economic forecasts predict Alberta will lead the nation in economic growth in the coming months.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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