Albertans will hear directly from the province’s top doctor on Friday afternoon, one day after a new daily high of 1,105 COVID-19 cases.
On Thursday, Alberta Health announced eight additional deaths connected to the novel coronavirus, including a man in his 30s from the Edmonton zone. The provincial death toll rose to 451.
There were 284 people in hospital with COVID-19 and of those, 61 were being treated in the ICU.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw is scheduled to speak at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Her news conference will be streamed live in this post.
Last Friday, the premier joined Hinshaw for the news conference, announcing new health measures in an attempt to lower COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations.
Jason Kenney told people in Calgary, Edmonton and any community under the watch status on the province’s COVID-19 map to stop hosting social gatherings at home.
All businesses in a municipality under the watch status should have employees wear a mask unless the person is sitting at a desk or cubicle more than six feet away from another person, or there is a barrier in place between them.
On Nov. 12, the province announced indoor group fitness classes and team sports would be prohibited for two weeks from Nov. 13-27 in the Calgary area, Edmonton area, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Red Deer.
Restaurants and pubs in the above areas, as well as areas on “enhanced status” must stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. This measure will also be in place from Nov. 13-27.
The mayor of Calgary doesn’t think the current restrictions are helping.
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“We should have seen numbers go down by now,” Naheed Nenshi said during a 770 CHQR interview on The Morning News With Sue Deyell And Andrew Schultz on Friday.
“Typically we see the numbers respond — if they’re going to respond — within five to 14 days. Fourteen is really the outlier. And the fact that they haven’t responded is actually quite concerning.
“It’s not about panic or fear but it’s about being very clear-headed… about looking at these numbers and where they’re going.”
Nenshi said the most concerning numbers are the rising hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths. He said he spoke with Hinshaw and the premier earlier this week and they’re also very, very worried.
“It’s very clear that they’re very concerned by these numbers. The premier continues to be concerned about particularly what will happen to retail businesses as we go into the Christmas season if we have more of a shutdown.
“But I think it’s pretty clear that more restrictive measures will be coming for the province sooner rather than later,” he said.
“I would not be at all surprised if they went with more restrictions prior to the end of the two-week period that they announced last week, especially with numbers like yesterday’s.”
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Whatever rules are in place, Nenshi is encouraging people to support local business as much as possible but in a safe way: shop online and order from a small local business using its website, delivery or curb-side pickup.
“A lot of businesses have been telling me: ‘Look, if you’re going to do this, please do it now so we have the opportunity to salvage some of the Christmas season… Get this over with. Don’t keep waiting,’” Nenshi said.
“Today, Ontario is going to announce more restrictions, there’s now a mask mandate in every province across the country except Alberta, so I imagine the pressure on the provincial government on this is pretty high.
“Let’s not wait for government to tell us the right thing to do,” he added. “It’s time for people to start restricting our activities now.”
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