Kenney told a press conference on Monday he was “angry” that a large group of people gathered this weekend at a rodeo in Bowden, Alta., In blatant violation restrictions in effect. “Given the problems we have encountered this weekend and the record number of case reports, we are developing a set of stronger public health measures, which I intend to announce tomorrow,” he said.
Grilled by reporters about his response to the third wave of the pandemic, Kenney said his government continues to broadly view public health measures against economic considerations.
“The reason we are at this critical point in the pandemic in Alberta – with a record number of daily cases and intensive care – is precisely because for some reason too many Albertans are ignoring the rules we have in place. “, did he declare. .
Kenney said Alberta has essentially the same rules in place as British Columbia and Saskatchewan. “Their number of cases is decreasing while ours is increasing,” he said.
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“It’s incredibly frustrating for all of us. And that is why I implore all Albertans to take this seriously. I said… last Thursday that if Albertans are not willing to do the right thing, even if it is difficult, then we will. be forced to take further action. ”
These new measures are expected to be announced on Tuesday, he said.
The government “sought to avoid” stricter rules
Alberta might have the most difficult lockdown imaginable, Kenney said, but if a large portion of the population refuses to follow the guidelines, the rules will have little impact on the number of cases.
He attributed this to a “difference in behavior” between Albertans and those in neighboring provinces.
“Obviously, what is happening now cannot continue, and that is why we could end up with no tools in the toolbox outside of broader and more stringent restrictions – restrictions that we have sought to avoid but that may be needed. “
The premier also announced that all teachers and school support staff and educators will be able to make appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday.
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Kenney said the provincial government estimates that more than 60 percent of teachers, educators and support staff have already been able to get vaccinated through an age-based rollout.
The vaccines will be distributed according to the honor system, he said.
“We are carefully monitoring our vaccine supply and plan to open Phase 3 to bookings for the general population over 16 years of age in the very near future,” Kenney said.
Active cases are the highest since the start of the pandemic
The province reported 2,012 new cases on Monday and four more deaths. Across Alberta, 658 people were being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals, including 154 in intensive care beds. Alberta has identified another 1,900 cases of variants. The variants now represent 64% of active cases.
The province reported 23,608 active cases on Monday, the highest total since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Referring to the weekend rodeo, Kenney said the participants violated what he called “common sense” public health measures.
“This event was put on by people who just don’t care,” he said. “Apparently they don’t care about COVID, and they don’t care about the sacrifices millions of Albertans make every day. “
Alberta has the highest rate of active cases in Canada, with 508 active cases per 100,000 people – double the highest rate of 252 in Ontario.
Last week, the government imposed new public health measures in hot spots across the province, where there are more than 350 active cases per 100,000 population and at least 250 total active cases.
The list of targeted communities includes Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Airdrie, Lethbridge, Strathcona County, Okotoks and Rocky View County.