EDMONTON – Premier Jason Kenney dismissed calls for a ‘hard lockdown’ during an appearance on a radio show on Sunday, the same day his province’s former top doctor signed a letter calling for immediate action “firewalls” to deal with the increase in COVID-19 cases.
Kenney told radio host Roy Green that a lockdown would “make no sense for the 80% of the vaccinated population,” and who he says are much less likely to transmit the disease and are much less likely. to be hospitalized.
In addition, he said that the roughly 20% who are not vaccinated and who are behind the increase in cases are less likely to follow public health measures.
Former Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr James Talbot and intensive care specialist Dr Noel Gibney on Sunday signed an open letter to the province’s new Minister of Health Jason Copping calling on the minister to take action to “prevent more disease, death and suffering.”
They called for measures that include moving intensive care patients to other provinces now in order to relieve pressure on hospitals and delay the need for triage protocols.
They also called for a set of “fire” closures and restrictions for at least four weeks for bars, gyms, casinos, indoor restaurants and sports facilities.
“We’re days away from being forced to implement a triage protocol that will force healthcare workers to make life and death decisions about who gets scarce resources, like ventilators. Those who don’t risk dying, ”said the doctors’ letter, which began with congratulations to Copping on his appointment to the health portfolio last week.
“Alberta’s hospital system, especially intensive care units, is under more life-threatening stress than at any time in the history of the province.
Alberta has over 20,000 active cases of COVID-19 and sees well over 1,000 new cases every day.
On Friday, the Canadian Armed Forces prepared to bring in airlifters and personnel to deal with the COVID-19 crisis plaguing hospitals in Alberta.
Kenney told Green Ontario was in a similar situation with COVID-19 in the spring, despite much more intensive restrictions being put in place. He also noted that Alberta took in patients from Manitoba earlier this year, despite what he called a hard lockdown there.
He also continued to advocate for his government’s removal of restrictions on July 1, which many blamed for the push.
“I don’t think we were wrong to drop the public health restrictions over the summer of July 1. We saw the numbers continue to drop for five to six weeks after that,” Kenney told Green.
“How could I have justified what the opposition and others wanted, namely continued damaging restrictions when there was no evidence to support it?”
Talbot and Gibney also called for mandatory vaccine passports for entry into non-essential businesses, as well as mandatory vaccinations for government employees and other arm’s-length agencies.
This month, Alberta implemented a “restriction waiver program” that allows businesses to operate with almost no COVID-19 rules as long as they request proof of vaccination. Those who choose not to request immunization records must adhere to stricter public health rules.
But Kenney’s United Conservative government has come under fire for uploading the decision, confusing and forcing compliant companies to face the wrath of anti-vaccination customers.
“Your government’s own policies are responsible for working with COVID in creating this wave of killings,” the doctors’ letter reads.
“Continued inaction is not moral or ethical.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 26, 2021.
Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press