Nenshi sounds alarm over COVID-19 situation in Calgary as city hospitals see new peaks

Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and active cases of COVID-19 are the highest they have ever been in Calgary, prompting Mayor Naheed Nenshi to warn that the city is "headed in the wrong direction."

'I know it's frustrating when you see those maskless idiots in their protests,' mayor says

Mayor Naheed Nenshi visits a seniors home in Calgary on April 14, 2020, amid a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. (Jeff McIntos/Canadian Press)

Hospitalizations, ICU admissions and active cases of COVID-19 are the highest they have ever been in Calgary during the pandemic, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Thursday, as he warned citizens that the city's public-health situation is "headed in the wrong direction."

"This third wave is much worse than the second wave," Nenshi said at a press conference.

The mayor noted that, as of April 27, the Calgary Health Zone (which includes the city and much of the surrounding area) had 8,882 active COVID-19 cases, exceeding the previous peak of 7,529 active cases that came during the second wave in the winter.

Nenshi also said there were 260 people in Calgary's hospitals due to COVID-19. Of those, 63 were in ICU.

That compares to a peak of 254 people in hospital and 54 in ICU during the second wave, the mayor said.

Active cases in Calgary as of April 27. (City of Calgary)

The mayor said the experience of the pandemic is not the same for everyone, and noted that for some Calgarians who might not know someone who has been ill or died, the situation might seem less dire.

But Nenshi said that's not the case in the northeast community where he lives — an area that has been hit particularly hard throughout the pandemic.

"In my neighbourhood, I don't think there's a single person who doesn't know anyone who didn't die of COVID. There certainly is not a single family who has not been impacted in a very bad way," the mayor said.

"And now, it's across the whole city … these variants are scary. They're transmissible and they're going far."

Hospitalizations in Calgary as of April 27. (City of Calgary)

While Calgary's health-care system is robust, Nenshi warned the situation can change quickly.

"I don't want to scare people, but I want to tell you that when the health-care system collapses, it collapses fast," Nenshi said.

He also took aim at those who deliberately flout public-health measures. 

"I know it's frustrating when you see those maskless idiots in their protests, coughing and saying they have bronchitis," the mayor said.

Police officers frustrated as they try to enforce rules

Deputy Chief Chad Tawfik with the Calgary Police Service said officers are also frustrated at the lack of compliance from some Calgarians when it comes to the public-health measures, and the response when officers try to enforce the rules.

"Our officers have been yelled at, battered on social media, and had them and their families targeted by individuals whose intent is to cause chaos and disorder," Tawfik said.

"But these members continue to show up at the rallies, protests and demonstrations, striving to keep the peace and keep our communities safe."

Calgary's ICU admissions as of April 27. (City of Calgary)

There have been five tickets issued in the past week to people for failing to wear a face covering in a public indoor place, according to new data released Thursday by the City of Calgary.

In total, there have now been 383 such tickets issued since the city's face-covering bylaw came into effect last August.

One ticket was also issued in the past week for failure to display the required signage about public-health measures in the entryway of a public indoor space.

That's the first ticket of its kind the city has issued since August.


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