Restrictions, tragic milestones and betrayal: Alberta’s week in COVID-19

EDMONTON — Albertans might look back on November as the month to remember, or forget, in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prompted by daily records of cases and deaths, on Nov. 16, Dr. Deena Hinshaw admitted “we are in the second wave.”

Things have only gotten worse since, with Alberta adding more than 1,000 cases of the coronavirus on each of the past eight days and struggling to keep up with contact tracing.

This week began with the chief medical officer of health announcing she would give daily updates and meet with government officials to offer more recommendations they would reveal on Tuesday.

RESTRICTIONS

The eight-hour meeting resulted with Premier Jason Kenney calling a state of public health emergency, banning indoor gatherings, limiting outdoor gatherings, weddings and funerals to 10 people, and sending students in Grade 7-12 to learn online until at least January.

The premier allowed restaurants and pubs to stay open, as long as Albertans only sit with people in their household or their two-close contacts, if they live alone.

“If we do not start to bend the curve with this latest round of measures and greater effort by Albertans, let me be blunt: We will impose stricter measures, likely in about three weeks’ time,” Kenney said.

Rachel Notley, the leader of the NDP, said Tuesday’s restrictions are “simply not enough.”

‘THIS IS A TRAGIC MILESTONE’

To add to November’s records, Alberta surpassed 50,000 total cases of COVID-19 and 500 deaths on Wednesday.

Dr. Hinshaw called the death toll a tragic milestone and limited visitor access to acute care facilities with outbreaks in communities with high case rates to protect Alberta’s most vulnerable to disease.

The ninth month of the pandemic has been Alberta’s deadliest, with 184 casualties.

As of Thursday, there were 14,052 active cases and 383 patients in hospital.

‘TRUST HAS BEEN BROKEN’

As the last full week of November crawled to an end, Dr. Hinshaw addressed CBC News’ report that cited secret recordings hours of meetings between her and cabinet members earlier in the pandemic.

She called the leaks a “personal betrayal and a betrayal of trust.”

“I am profoundly disappointed that confidential internal conversations have been shared, actions that are a violation of the public service oath and code of conduct.”

Hinshaw doesn’t know who leaked the recordings and said an investigation is underway.

The chief medical officer of health will be joined by Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu at 3:30 p.m.

Watch live at CTVNewsEdmonton.ca.

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