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EDMONTON – Alberta opposition says Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s administration must start showing its hand if it is to secure a public buy-in for targeted COVID-19 health restrictions

NDP health critic David Shepherd says the public will not get the reasons and evidence for deciding to close some businesses but not others

“Jason Kenney is keeping the Albertans in the dark,” Shepherd said on Friday. “We have no explanation as to why they chose this particular company

“If this Prime Minister does not take it seriously (enough) that he is willing to communicate openly and honestly with the people of Alberta, we will get what we have now that we are unfortunately too low a level Compliance of even the most basic of things ”

COVID-19 cases in Alberta have been increasing at an alarming rate for weeks.The case load has overwhelmed contact tracing and strained the health system

Alberta exhibited on Friday 1155 new cases set a sobering daily record. There were 310 people in the hospital, 58 of them in intensive care, and 11 new deaths for a total of 462

Since contact tracing can’t keep up, officers don’t know where 82 percent of the 10th655 active infections occurred

Kenney announced stricter health restrictions affecting some parts of the community and the economy a week ago. Restaurants and retailers, schools and places of worship will remain open with some restrictions

Major gyms and recreational centers will also remain open, but gyms and organized indoor team sports and group arts performances have been closed for two weeks in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Deer, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie

In areas with major case problems – including Edmonton, Calgary and the surrounding area – public gatherings are limited to 15 people and weddings and funerals are limited to 50 people. Bars and restaurants serving alcohol must stop at 10 p.m. and close an hour later. p>

The Province Provided Some Reasons for the Changes Kenney said few cases are coming from indoors, but he introduced the alcohol deadline because some restaurants break the rules and move into nighttime super-spreader party zones have transformed

He also said that household gatherings and get-togethers are responsible for 40 percent of new cases

Some gyms this week said they did everything they could to keep COVID-19 free and they don’t understand why they are being targeted now

The government says the ban on team sports should avoid close contact between participants, but a similar ban has not been put in place on worship services.The province has asked to limit faith-based gatherings to one-third of capacity, but that remains voluntary

Dr Deena Hinshaw, chief medical health officer, said earlier this week she was desperate to hear that some sports teams are moving outside of the cities to keep playing, and that some gyms are circumventing the rules by replacing live instructors with videos

On Thursday, NDP critic Rod Loyola asked Health Secretary Tyler Shandro for evidence underlying last week’s orders, suggesting that it appear arbitrary and unfair

“These (fitness) club owners are not against public health regulations, but they don’t deserve to be closed just so this premiere appears to be taking COVID-19 seriously,” said Loyola

“What evidence do you have against other companies of the closure? How many cases have been linked to these studios and how many cases will this order prevent? “

Shandro urged Loyola to check with Hinshaw because the gym was closed on her recommendation: “There were three super-spreader events that took place in group fitness. That was the concern that Dr Hinshaw had “

Hinshaw said Friday that decisions will be made based on evidence in Alberta and elsewhere as to which situations have become or may become super spreaders

“I’ve talked about the reasons in general, but we may need to provide certain information,” she said

“If it would be helpful to people then we can safely work on it”

Shepherd again urged the government to release updated model data on where COVID-19 is going in Alberta, the latest modeling came out in the spring

He again urged Alberta to make masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces in high-casualty areas

The province has a patchwork of masking rules set by the municipalities and is the only one without a provincial guideline

Hinshaw said the government is still evaluating whether mandatory masks make sense as a public health measure and whether they would work in the “Alberta context,” but no decision has been made

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Alberta lockdown

World News – CA – Alberta government risks public buy-in for COVID-19 by withholding information: opposition

Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/11/20/alberta-government-risks-public-buy-in-on-covid-19-by-withholding-info-opposition.html