Kenney, Shandro, Hinshaw set to provide COVID-19 update at 6 p.m.; 24 deaths reported

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Alberta’s top officials are slated to give an update on COVID-19 at 6 p.m. Wednesday as the province reported 24 deaths – the highest single-day increase since the end of January.

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The appearance by Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw comes after two days of UCP caucus and COVID-19 cabinet committee meetings and as the province continues to face a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Another 1,609 cases were reported Wednesday – the second highest single-day increase during the pandemic’s fourth wave – and hospitalizations rose to 877 including 281 in ICU.

Earlier in the day, former cabinet minister Leela Aheer called on Kenney to admit he botched the fourth wave of COVID-19 and to outline a plan to fix it.

Aheer, in a posting on Twitter, says the leader of the United Conservative government needs to show some humility in the face of the crisis that is pushing the provincial health system to the brink of collapse.

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Aheer was critical of Kenney’s actions earlier in the pandemic and was kicked out of cabinet in early July, although the premier denied the demotion was punishment for her remarks.

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Kenney has resisted repeated calls to implement a vaccine passport program in Alberta that would require proof of vaccination to access non-essential services. He has said such a program would violate the spirit of health and privacy legislation.

Earlier this week, Hinshaw said it was the government’s decision to lift almost all restrictions in early July that set Alberta on the trajectory towards the current fourth wave of the pandemic.

Alberta’s active cases climbed to 18,421 Wednesday. The Edmonton and Calgary Zones are hotspots with 5,408 and 5,297 active cases, respectively.

In total, 2,495 Albertans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Watch the live stream at 6 p.m.

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– with files from Canadian Press

More to come

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