Rachel Notley

NDP leader Rachel Notley called on the premier to “immediately” re-introduce public health measures to protect Albertans from the “rising danger” of the COVID-19 pandemic’s third wave.

“Albertans’ lives are at stake, and there are proven measures that could be protecting them,” she said.

“I was shocked that Jason Kenney failed to do this on Thursday. He laid out a compelling case to take action and then was unable to act.”

“Jason Kenney is a weak and ineffective premier.”

In remarks on April 1, Kenney said the likelihood of 1,000 hospitalizations was possible by the end of April, describing the new COVID-19 variants as “more virulent” and “more lethal.”

The projected 1,000 hospitalizations due to COVID would stand to be the highest total at any point in this pandemic.

“He did nothing to change course,” said Notley.

Since the announcement, there have been an additional 3,987 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“The Official Opposition is calling for a re-introduction of the government’s January 18 public health restrictions, but with schools remaining open for the time being,” said Notley in a statement to social media.

The Opposition also urged the province to convene an urgent conversation with teachers and school districts to determine how to keep students, staff, and families safe through to June.

They said this should include widespread rapid testing in schools, dedicated school contact tracing, the hiring of additional staff, and the creation of an Alberta Learn From Home fund.

With renewed restrictions, Notley asked for continued supports for Alberta families, businesses, and workers, including the $125 million in unspent money from the Small Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program and the more than $100 million in federal money meant for the still unlaunched Alberta Jobs Now program.

Notley also pleaded for the province to release all internal modelling and written recommendations from Dr. Deena Hinshaw that she has accused them of hiding from Albertans.

“He must re-introduce the measures that effectively contained the spread of COVID over the winter — and he must do it today.”

There are 10,582 Active cases, with 312 in hospital and 76 in intensive care.

The province has delayed Step 3 due to rising hospitalizations, despite nearing 300 hospitalizations.

The province confirmed social gatherings remain the top source of transmission.

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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