“Take this seriously,” Albertans implored Monday, suggesting the health care system may soon see its capacity exceeded if the rise in coronavirus cases in the province does not begin to flatten or decline.
READ MORE: Alberta’s current COVID-19 status worse than every province and state: Leading former doctor
The prime minister said discussions of potential new public health measures were underway, but did not say what they might involve.
During his press conference on Monday, Kenney said the situation in the province is on a downward spiral because too many Albertans are not following the public health measures already in place.
The story continues under the ad
He reiterated that his government has continually followed an approach to tackle the pandemic that balances concerns about COVID-19 with mental health and people’s ability to make a living.
“I think we’ve generally done very well with this,” he said. “Our intermediate approach has been successful.”
Will more COVID-19 health restrictions actually reduce the numbers in Alberta?
Kenney said that while his government could have imposed hard and prolonged lockdowns or taken a laissez-faire approach that results in a higher number of deaths, as in parts of the United States, he is happy with the approach. adopted by his government in its response to the pandemic.
He added that he disagreed with people who play the “blame game”.
Kenney noted that he believes his government has been very proactive throughout the pandemic in increasing the capacity of the health care system, the contact tracing system, testing and PPE.
Despite worrying trends in Alberta, Kenney said there had been some bright spots, including that the ratio of positive cases to hospitalizations was declining.
READ MORE: Alberta Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility to Teachers, Schools and Child Care Staff
However, Kenney acknowledged that the variants and the third wave of the pandemic currently besieging Alberta are very serious “and we will do all we can to address them.”
Kenney said his government had already “taken extraordinary steps,” including the fact that social gatherings inside had been banned since December, religious gatherings had been restricted and some businesses had not been allowed to operate for more than a decade. ‘a year.
While speaking about the potential need to introduce new restrictions, Kenney stressed that he believes the “lockdown” in Toronto has not had the desired effect, given that the capacity of the health care system to Ontario is currently limited.
“We can have, on paper, the most difficult lockdown imaginable, and if … a large part of the population doesn’t follow that, it doesn’t matter,” he said. .
READ MORE: Trial begins for Alberta pastor accused of violating COVID-19 health orders
Kenney pointed out that while public health restrictions in Alberta are similar to those in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, those provinces are seeing their COVID-19 numbers drop as the situation in Alberta worsens.
Proud Boys Canada says it was never a “white supremacist” group, dissolves
Alberta’s current COVID-19 status worse than every province and state: renowned former doctor
The story continues under the ad
Alberta Premier is expected to announce new restrictions on Tuesday
Kenney said “hammering” people with tough new restrictions may not be the right approach “if you have a compliance issue like we apparently do here in Alberta”.
“There is a difference in behavior here,” he said, adding that he had heard that some municipalities in Alberta had seen motions opposing the public health restrictions – which, according to him, worries him.
Kenney did not mention in a letter the more than a dozen members of his own government who formally opposed his public health restrictions.
READ MORE: 17 UCP MPs revolt against renewal of Alberta government’s COVID-19 restrictions
“The vast majority of the population is trying to comply,” Kenney said. “What is needed is broad public support for the restrictions in place.
“We all need to be part of the solution.”
Kenney said he had spoken with Justice Minister Kaycee Madu about exploring options to improve the enforcement of public health measures.
What is it safe for you to do after being fully immunized? Dr Bogoch weighs
Opposition Leader Rachel Notley issued a statement following Kenney’s press conference in which she said, “Albertans have lost faith in Jason Kenney, and he failed them again today.
“He said his approach was working, but everyone knows that’s not true,” she said. “Albertans can see with their own eyes the increase in the number of cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
“The half-measures that Jason Kenney has put in place are not working. It must provide for paid sick leave and effective enforcement. It must apply more significant measures throughout the province and not on a regional basis.
“Any new measurement must be accompanied by all of the data and written recommendations from Dr. Deena Hinshaw to Cabinet.”
Last week, Kenney announced new public health measures for so-called COVID-19 “hot spots” in Alberta. In hard-hit jurisdictions, lower and upper secondary students were transferred to home learning while indoor sports were temporarily suspended in those areas.
“What we are seeing in recent days reinforces our conclusion that the previous measures that were put in place were not enough to flatten the curve in Alberta,” said the Premier.
For weeks now, a number of public health experts, infectious disease experts and critical care physicians have been calling on Alberta to take tougher action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
READ MORE: COVID-19 hospitalizations, intensive care admissions climb in Edmonton area
At the end of last month, Dr Noel Gibney, co-chair of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association’s pandemic response committee, said Edmonton’s COVID-19 numbers were comparable to those in the city. in early December.
“We are following very, very closely and looking at the curves,” he said. “They are very, very similar.
“The only difference is that we started from a higher baseline than in December. “
Dr Neeja Bakshi, a doctor in the COVID-19 unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, told Global News late last month that the facility had noticed a change since Easter.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in admissions,” she said. “We were going from a couple a day to six to seven a day, that includes the intensive care unit and the ward (COVID-19).”
–With files from Julia Wong of Global News
Watch below: Some recent videos from Global News on the COVID-19 situation in Alberta.
Show link »