A Canadian organization is calling for stronger measures to deal with the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta after the province instituted new restrictions on Thursday.
Masks4Canada — an alliance of doctors and concerned citizens — said the new measures in Alberta “fall far short of what’s necessary to address what is essentially an out-of-control rise in COVID-19 infections.”
The organization sent a letter to Premier Jason Kenney calling for mandatory restrictions such as the closure of restaurants, churches and group recreation.
“We realize these are big asks, and certainly I think one thing we need to understand is we’re heading to a big crisis here,” University of Alberta PhD student Conor Ruzycki said.
“I don’t think the majority of Albertans really understand how bad the situation is getting in our hospitals. That’s part of the reason we’re putting forward this letter. We’re really in a dire position.”
On Thursday, Kenney announced new restrictions over a two week period in an attempt to stop the rising case number and stop the health system from being overwhelmed.
Indoor group fitness classes and team sports will be prohibited for two weeks from Nov. 13-27, Kenney said. This applies to the Calgary area, Edmonton area, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Red Deer.
Restaurants and pubs in those areas, as well as areas on “enhanced status” must stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. This measure will also be in place from Nov. 13-27.
Kenney also said amateur singing, dancing and theatre groups will also have to take a two-week break when enhanced pandemic measures begin Friday.
“This two-week push is, I believe, our last chance to avoid more restrictive measures that I and most Albertans desperately want to avoid,” Kenney said.
Ruzycki said similar measures have been attempted elsewhere without a lot of success.
“I think at this point we’ve reached a point where we really don’t have time to play around with these sorts of voluntary measures to figure out what does and what doesn’t work,” he said.
“We don’t have weeks and months to figure out if it’s going to work. We’re at a position where we need to do something rapidly, quickly, like right away here to try to get things under control.
The Masks4Canada letter to Kenney received over 7,000 signatures.
On Saturday, Alberta reported its highest single day total for new coronavirus cases at 1,026.
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