Alberta’s NDP Official Opposition announced Sunday night it will seek emergency debate Monday afternoon on the weekend’s record COVID-19 case counts. Sunday saw 1584 new cases, an increase from Saturday’s record of 1336 cases. The NDP charge that the government is not providing information to Albertans and that Premier Jason Kenny is not being public accountable.
“This is the greatest public health threat we have faced in our lives,” said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “When faced with great challenges, Albertans are always willing to roll up their sleeves and work together, but to do so they need leadership and a roadmap. So far, the Premier has provided neither.
“We have seen Premiers across the country address the public in recent days and provide modelling and other information that makes it clear just how big of a threat COVID-19 is. In Alberta, we’ve seen nothing of the sort.”
In a media release, NDP House Leader Heather Sweet said Alberta hospitals cannot sustain surging case counts. “The Premier’s belief that the economy and public health are at odds with one another is out of step with the approach taken by other leaders. Unrestricted growth in cases will undermine the economy. It’s up to this Government to take appropriate steps to support the economy while introducing measures to slow the spread of this virus.”
Alberta remains the only Canadian province without a mandated mask requirement, although Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hinshaw continues to advocate for mask usage as well as social distancing and proper sanitization.
Ontario launched a 28-day shut down on Monday in Ottawa, Toronto and the Peel region that affects most non-essential businesses. Manitoba has recently restricted stores from selling anything but essential goods.
Asked by media on Friday about what increased restrictions may be in story, Hinshaw told reporters that she was preparing a “suite of recommendations” for the government.
Those Albertans opposed to shutdowns and restrictions had some additional fuel in their fire on Nov. 13 when Edmonton Dr. Roger Hodkinson told a City of Edmonton committee he believed COVID-19 was the “biggest hoax ever perpetuated on an unsuspecting public.”
Hodkinson, in contrast to Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said that masks were useless virtue signalling and that six-foot social distancing was also “useless” due to COVID-19’s aerosol spread of approximately 30 metres.
A video recording and transcript of Hodkinson’s address has been widely shared on social media, including in the comment section of this publication.
As of Nov. 21, Morinville had three new cases, no new recoveries for a total of 24 active cases. Sturgeon County had 11 new cases and one more recovery for a total of 74 active cases. There are currently 319 Albertans in hospital and 60 in ICU.
Dr. Hinshaw’s next update is expected Monday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Publisher’s Note: This article was updated at 11 am Monday to note time change of Dr. Hinshaw’s update.