Categorized | News

Premier urges Albertans to join the fight against COVID-19 spread

Fort Macleod residents are practising social distancing to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. Pioneer Lodge resident Eleanor Donahue, 100, enjoys a visit with her grandson Mac Donahue and her son Tim Donahue. Photo by Jackie Vanee-Palmer.

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely peak in Alberta in mid May, with 800,000 people infected and 400 to 3,100 deaths.

That’s the probable forecast released last week by Premier Jason Kenney in a televised address.

The elevated scenario predicts the pandemic will peak at the beginning of May with one million people infected and 500 to 6,600 dead.

“I know that these numbers can be overwhelming but these models are not a done deal,” Kenney said April 7. “I want Albertans to see them instead as a challenge, perhaps the greatest challenge of our generation.”

“Those numbers are not inevitable. How this actually plays out, how many people are infected, how many die, and whether we overwhelm our health care system, all of that depends on us and our choices.”

Kenney last week offered projections on the pandemic for the first time, based on modelling created for Alberta.

The premier said in order for the best case scenario to play out, Albertans have to follow these basic rules:

  • • Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water.
  • • Sneeze or cough into your arm or elbow.
  • • When you can, stay home.
  • • Try to stay at least six feet away from other people outside your home.
  • • Stay at home for at least two weeks if you are sick or return from outside the country.
  • • Wear a covering over your nose and mouth if you’re going into a crowded area.

Kenney said some people believe the precautions are an over-reaction, that the virus should be allowed to run its course.

That can’t happen, the premier said.

“Our experts project that if we had no social distancing or public health orders in place we could experience in the worst case scenario as many as 1.6-million infections and 32,000 deaths in Alberta,” Kenney said, noting there would be 640 deaths per day.

“Our health system would collapse under the weight of that chaos. Albertans will not let that happen.”

As of April 13 there were 1,732 confirmed cases in Alberta. Forty-six people have died, and 877 have recovered.

There are 33 cases in the south zone of Alberta Health Services.

Kenney said Alberta’s strategy to defeat the virus is to push down the peak of infections while building capacity in the health system.

More acute care beds are being opened and more respirators and ICU ventilators are being acquired.

“We are confident that our health system will be able to cope and that we will have the supplies on hand to get the job done,” Kenney said.

The premier said easing the public health rules would result in a catastrophe that would further batter the economy.

The public health orders will likely remain in place until the end of May.

“As hard as this may be, it is the only ethical choice when thousands of lives are at stake,” Kenney said.

Kenney is hopeful that the models are wrong and life can begin returning to normal in Alberta sooner.

“It all depends on how Albertans act in the weeks to come,” Kenney said.

Kenney offered promising news about the so-called curve — the rate at which infections grow in a country or region.

“The curve in Alberta is much lower than in many other parts of the word,” Kenney said. “So far, our country more closely resembles countries that have successfully fought the virus like South Korea, than the sharp upwards rise seen in countries like Italy, Spain and the U.S.” Kenney said.

Comments are closed.