Commentary – Why did Alberta become COVID hotspot?

Richard Froese

Are the new tightened health restrictions in Alberta working to stop the spike of COVID-19 cases in the third wave?

Updated restrictions were announced May 4 by Premier Jason Kenney that many people say are too tight.

Other people, like medical professional and physicians, say the numbers would be lower if the restrictions happened sooner.

Kenney says the restrictions were heightened as the number of daily cases started to exceed 2,000 in the last week of April. That was when Alberta became the province with the highest rate of infections. Those restrictions are scheduled to be in place for at least three weeks.

Everyone, including Kenney, hopes that three weeks is long enough to reduce the spread and risk of COVID.

It can happen only as more people follow the rules and get vaccinated, as the premier promoted on the podium May 4.

The numbers of daily cases and people in hospitals have declined since then.

Recent trends show that the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta was severe compared to British Columbia.

Take the numbers for May 5.

Alberta announced 2,271 new daily cases while B.C. reported just 572.

What are the best ways to stop the spike in Alberta that will get the greatest support?

So, what is B.C. doing to keep the daily number of cases below 600?

Why are the Alberta numbers so high?

Has the B.C. government been more proactive in its restrictions and health measures to stay ahead of the game?

Do more B.C. people comply with the restrictions and follow the rules?

Is the B.C. government and provincial health system stricter with its restrictions?

It appears Albertan may be more reluctant to take the government’s advice.

An opinion column in the Edmonton Sun issue of May 7 suggests several reasons.

Column writer Lorne Gunter states his views.

“The Alberta government added to the growth of the infection in this province by not locking us down sooner.

“But I would argue theirs was a very Alberta approach.

“Albertans are typically more prepared than other Canadians to accept a little extra risk and less willing to listen to government.”

Last year, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was given top marks in the national media for her strong leadership in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, it seems she and people in B.C. are getting rewards by the low number of daily cases, compared to Alberta.

Back here, Albertans have been critical of the COVID-19 response and leadership of Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

Many health and professionals say the restrictions have been too soft and do little to bend the curve.

Others, such as business owners, say the restrictions go too far.

It such a tough issue to balance.

Since the pandemic started in March 2020, the government has ordered businesses to close or reduce the number of people on their premises.

Hundreds of businesses in the province have closed shop, never to reopen.

They just couldn’t and can’t survive without the steady consistent flow of traffic.

It’s vital that more people get vaccinated to benefit everyone.

That will go a long way to reduce the COVID cases and permit governments to relax restrictions.

More vaccines are coming to Alberta and that is helping the government expand to program to reach more and younger people.

Most vaccine requires two shots.

Remember, follow the rules and get vaccinated.

Share this post