Alberta Premier Says He Will Not ‘Take Course’ From Federal Minister Of Health On COVID-19
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said he will not “take a course” from Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu on how to deal with COVID-19.
Hajdu earlier wrote a letter to her Alberta counterpart saying she agrees with the Canadian Pediatric Society’s description of Alberta’s decision to lift all COVID-19 measures as an “unnecessary and risky bet “.
“We’re not going to… take Minister Hajdu’s classes, especially when it looks like she and her boss (Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau are determined to run a federal election campaign,” Kenney said on Friday. a press conference in Bowden, Alta., on supporting farmers in times of drought.
“If they are really concerned about COVID, then why is she preparing to put up campaign signs?”
Kenney then described Hajdu’s letter as a political ploy and criticized his handling of COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic.
He said the federal government should respect the advice of Alberta’s best doctor, as his government does.
Hajdu is one of many political leaders and health experts across the country who have spoken out against Alberta’s decision to end COVID-19 isolation, testing and contact tracing measures.
Dozens of people chanted “test, trace and isolate” outside the Edmonton Legislature on Friday. It was the ninth consecutive day of protests, which also took place in Calgary.
Organizers said they will continue to demonstrate daily until August 16 – the day quarantine requirements will be lifted in Alberta for people infected with COVID-19.
David Walsh, 14, said that although he is fully vaccinated, he worries about his peers when they return to school in September.
“It’s silly, frankly,” Walsh said. “I worry about asymptomatic people at school … and not having to isolate myself is worrying. I worry about my classmates and those who have been fed misinformation and who have not been vaccinated . “
Businessman Rob Sproule attended the protest with his wife and children. He said he was gravely concerned about a fourth wave of COVID-19.
“No other jurisdiction has gone that far. Letting go of the restrictions is one thing. You don’t have to go any further and treat COVID like it’s cold. It’s not a cold,” Sproule said.
As concerns mount, so do the cases in Alberta. Thursday marked the highest daily number of cases since July 1 with 397 new infections. Alberta also had the highest number of active cases in all of Canada, according to federal data.
The province reported 369 additional cases and 11 new hospitalizations on Friday.
Dr Craig Jenne, an infectious disease expert at the University of Calgary, said severe results resulting from community transmission are of the greatest concern.
“If this trend continues, I think we’ll face some tough decisions on how to slow it down,” Jenne said.
“If, however, we see a stronger disconnect between increasing cases in the community and limited hospitalizations, then this is an indication that we can continue to move forward.”
Earlier Friday, Alberta’s opposition NDP asked Kenney to release internal modeling that the government said supported its decision to eliminate its public health measures.
NDP Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman said the government needs to release the data so Albertans can make decisions about their health and assess risks.
Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the modeling looked at the transmission and severe outcomes associated with the highly contagious Delta variant.
Hinshaw said modeling suggests cases will increase for a month, but have limited impact on the province’s acute care system.
Chris Bourdeau, spokesperson for Alberta Health, said in a statement that Hinshaw’s decisions are based on “a thorough medical analysis, using the best data available in Alberta and around the world.”
Bourdeau said Hinshaw will release data next week, but did not say whether internal modeling will be included.
Late Friday afternoon, the province released a 126-page independent report on its response to the first wave of the pandemic.
The review focused on the government’s response to acute and continuing care, the economic consequences of the pandemic, messages about COVID-19, government decision-making, and the purchase of personal protective equipment.
He made three recommendations, including one for the province to work in collaboration with other stakeholders, such as municipalities.