The Premier of Alberta is sending a message to Albertans who choose not to adhere to the province’s health guidelines regarding COVID-19. Speaking to MyGrandePrairieNow.com on a visit to the city, Jason Kenney warns that if the current curve does not bend down by Christmas, more “draconian” health measures will be necessary.
“This is not a joke; this is real. If we see exponential growth, if we don’t start bending the curve down, by Christmas time we will have hundreds, potentially more, COVID-19 patients in hospitals bumping everyone else out, causing other negative health consequences.”
According to Kenney, the province estimates at the current rate of increasing hospitalizations there will be around 300 COVID-19 patients in acute care beds by roughly mid-November. The government has not updated COVID-19 modelling since April 8th.
The Premier also notes in a hospital room with four beds, there can only be one COVID-19 patient staying there at a time.
The increase in cases is not completely unexpected, he says, as cold, flu, and viruses spreading is generally more common in the fall and winter months. Kenney says he is empathetic towards Albertans who are likely fed up with the ongoing pandemic.
“I just ask people, I know you’re sick and tired of this, God knows I am, but just think about your mom or dad [who] might be in the queue for surgery or your grandparents who might be in a nursing home. If that means cancelling a party, or not socializing quite as much, I think that’s a reasonable thing to do.”
The premier acknowledges the extremes of views surrounding the virus, from those who are terrified of the pandemic to those who believe it doesn’t exist. As a message to those who are scared, Kenney encourages them to respect the pandemic, as opposed to fearing it. For those on the opposite end of the spectrum, the message is a little more blunt.
“For people who say this isn’t real, I’m the Premier of Alberta; I’ve got the head of AHS coming to me every day saying how many surgeries she has to cancel, how many acute care beds she has to move people out of the hospitals to accommodate COVID-19 patients that are coming in.”
“All I would say to those folks is, even if you’re not convinced that this thing’s for real, how about just in an excess of caution, in case you’re wrong, how about you just take some basic precautions,” he adds. “Stay home if you’re sick, don’t go into large crowds, wash your hands, and maybe that could save both our health care system and our economy. Isn’t that worth just a minor inconvenience to do that?”
Kenney says the province will be announcing additional preventative measures in the week to come.