Alberta Government to take “further action” on COVID-19, Jason Kenney invokes possible curfews

During today's press conference update on the COVID-19 situation in the Province of Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney announced that the government will need to take “further action”. Actions include the possibility of imposing curfews, moving schools to remote learning, closing indoor sports and fitness, and increasing fine collection by introducing restrictions at registry services for people who do not pay their non-compliance fines.

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During the presser, Premier Kenney said the province has about 21,000 active COVID-19 cases, which he says is the most Alberta has had since the start of the pandemic and the positivity rate is 10% with variants representing 63% of Alberta’s active cases. 

Kenney says that there are currently 632 people in the hospital with COVID-19, 151 of those have been admitted into the ICU.  This ties the highest ICU usage that Alberta had in the second wave in December 2020.

During the press conference, Kenney said that the “restrictions currently in place will not bend the curve fast enough to get this third wave under control before the summer,”.

“We need to do more now to safeguard our health system and buy us time to get more Albertans protected with their first doses”, Kenney continued. 

Earlier this month Kenney had predicted that Alberta would soon open up and would have the “greatest summer ever.”

Kenney announced that beginning tomorrow, April 30, the government will implement “targeted public health measures for hotspots across the province” in regions with a case rate above 350 per 100,000 people and at least 250 active cases. Kenney said those current regions would include Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Airdrie, Lethbridge, and Strathcona County. 

Measures announced included declaring that all grades 7 to 12 in those regions will be remote starting Monday, May 2. 

Kenney says that since Christmas, only about 2,500 cases of in-school transmission have been recorded in Alberta. “That means about only one-third of one percent of students have been affected by in-school transmission”, Jason Kenney said. 

Indoor sports and fitness will be closed in those regions beginning tomorrow, April 30. He says these restrictions will stay in place for a minimum of two weeks “even if the municipality drops below the threshold at any point”. 

Jason Kenney says where it is “needed” the government is prepared to implement a curfew “where case rates are significantly high” and where a municipal government requests it. 

Kenney also said that the government will work to ensure Albertans take non-compliance fines from AHS and law enforcement seriously by “adding additional backstops with stronger fine collection and actions with restrictions at registry services.”

“So that means if you are given a fine and you are not taking it seriously, you don’t pay it, you will not be able to, for example, renew your drivers license and there will be other implications with respect to registry services”, Kenney added.

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