Does Alberta ‘care if people get sick or die?': Push for lockdown, #FirebreakAB rejected by Premier Jason Kenney

·4 min read

As COVID-19 rages on in Alberta, the province's premier Jason Kenney continues to reject calls for a "firebreak" lockdown measure to slow the spread of the virus.

"We are monitoring the trends and the numbers very closely everyday, if we need to take additional measures we will, but they have to be effective," Kenney said at a press conference on Tuesday. "One of the challenges that we are facing is that the pressure on our hospitals is coming overwhelmingly from the unvaccinated share of our population."

"We also find that, that segment of the population are the least likely to comply with public health measures or restrictions... So it is a complex situation because if we were to bring in widespread restrictions that would most likely be complied with [by] the people who are vaccinated, but we would likely see large-scale noncompliance among the unvaccinated population."

When asked by reporters if a "firebreak" lockdown, specifically, is on the table and when something like that could be implemented, the premier responded by saying the province is still monitoring to see how effective the current measures have been on limiting COVID-19 spread.

"If the advice we receive is that these measures have been insufficient to abate the case growth pressure and future hospitalization pressure, then we will take additional measures," Kenney said.

'Firebreakers' or 'circuit breakers' are essential, experts say

A statement from Dr. Katharine Smart, President of the Canadian Medical Association, states health systems in Alberta and Saskatchewan are at "breaking point."

"Early relaxation of public health measures has left two crumbling health care systems in their wake and the dire realities are now in full view," the statement reads. "What is happening is as heartbreaking as it was preventable.

"The Canadian Medical Association is urgently calling on the provincial and federal governments to work together to: increase vaccination rates through mandatory vaccination in health care settings; institute effective public health measures such as ‘firebreakers’ or ‘circuit breakers’ to aggressively control COVID-19 cases; increase the mobility of health workers between provinces and support the safe transportation of patients to other jurisdictions who have ICU capacity."

Several people, including health experts, have taken to social media to respond to Kenney's response to calls for "firebreak" lockdown measures in Alberta.

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