As Alberta breaks single-day COVID-19 records, minister tests positive and premier self-isolates
Premier tested negative but will continue with isolation period
On a day when Alberta reported a record number of 406 new COVID-19 cases, the province also said a government minister has tested positive for the illness and Premier Jason Kenney is in self-isolation.
Kenney's office confirmed to CBC News on Wednesday night that the premier tested negative but will continue with the isolation period. In a statement posted to Twitter Wednesday night, Kenney said he will be isolating at his home in Edmonton until the afternoon of Oct. 29.
"I am feeling healthy, and am not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms," Kenney said in the statement.
Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard tested positive on Wednesday afternoon and was experiencing "mild symptoms," Harrison Fleming, deputy press secretary for the premier's office, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Allard recently had a close contact who tested positive, the statement said, and has been self-isolating since being told on the weekend.
Likewise, the premier "immediately entered self-isolation" upon learning of Allard's positive test, Fleming said.
Transportation Minister Ric McIver and United Conservative Party MLAs Angela Pitt, Peter Guthrie and Nathan Neudorf are also self-isolating because they had interactions with Allard last week, the statement said, though they are not showing symptoms.
Allard participated in a government announcement on Monday via video conference and has not been in the legislature since session began on Tuesday, Fleming said.
Close contacts of the minister are being notified and will be advised to isolate and get tested, he said.
"We are not currently aware of any close contacts of minister Allard's showing symptoms," Fleming said.
Alberta broke two COVID-19 records on Wednesday, for the most new cases in a single day, 406, and for the most active cases.
The previous single-day record for reported new cases was 356, on Oct.18. During the first wave of the pandemic, the province hit 351 new cases on April 23.
There were 3,372 active cases in the province on Wednesday. The previous record was set Tuesday, with 3,203.
Kenney and federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole came under fire on social media over the weekend after they appeared together without masks during an online session of the UCP's annual general meeting.
O'Toole tested positive for COVID-19 a month ago and has since recovered. He and Kenney sat side-by-side during Saturday's online event.
The Alberta government later said all necessary precautions were taken.
The regional breakdown of active cases on Wednesday was:
- Edmonton zone: 1,649.
- Calgary zone: 1,174.
- South zone: 203.
- North zone: 189.
- Central zone: 140.
- Unknown: 17.
The three most recent deaths were a man in his 60s from the Edmonton zone, a man in his 70s also from the Edmonton zone and a woman in her 70s who was linked to an outbreak at Carewest George Boyack centre in Calgary.
That brings the death toll in the province to 296.
A total of 113 people were being treated in hospitals on Wednesday, including 16 in ICU beds.