NDP calls for immediate public health restrictions to curb COVID's third wave
New variants of concern now account for 39 per cent of cases
Premier Jason Kenney should respond to rising COVID-19 and variant of concern cases by immediately imposing public health restrictions similar to those that were in place in January, the Alberta NDP Opposition says.
With 1,000 new cases a day, NDP leader Rachel Notley said on Monday that Alberta is in the same place it was in in mid-November. By the time Kenney imposed stricter measures on Dec. 8, daily new case numbers were close to 1,800 and more than 200 more people had died since mid-November.
On Monday, Alberta Health reported 887 new cases. Alberta also reported 432 variant cases, which now make up 39 per cent of active cases in the province.
Health officials are now confirming a second outbreak of the highly contagious Brazilian P.1 variant.
The two outbreaks happened at workplaces in Alberta. One involved three locations of "a large employer with multiple sites across Western Canada" in the north and central zones. Three of the 26 COVID-19 cases there have so far been identified as the P.1 variant. The second outbreak is at a business in Calgary. Five people are ill; so far, one case has been confirmed as the P.1 variant.
Alberta Health did not reveal the names of the businesses involved.
- 'Variants are winning': Alberta in 3rd wave of COVID-19, premier says
- 'Significant' outbreak of COVID-19 P.1 variant in Alberta, Hinshaw warns
Notley called for a return to the measures of Jan. 18, when gyms and restaurant dining rooms were closed but outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people were allowed, after they had been prohibited for six weeks.
"This is a clear turning point this weekend, and, you know, the virus doesn't sleep on a holiday and nor should our premier," she said at a news conference Monday.
"Albertans are watching premiers across this country take action to keep their citizens safe. And yet we're not hearing from the premier. We absolutely must hear from him."
CBC News has reached out to Kenney's office for comment.
The emergency management cabinet committee is now scheduled to meet Tuesday morning.