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Easter COVID-19 message: ‘Do it outside’ says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney urged citizens to adhere to public health rules as COVID-19 daily cases were well over 800 cases per day.

The province recorded 875 cases in the past 24 hours, with 322 of them from variants of concern. Hospitalization jumped over 300 earlier in the week, before dropping to 292 today.

Premier Kenney said that he’d hoped to tell Albertans they’d “turned a corner” in the COVID-19 pandemic. He wanted to tell Albertans they could gather with family and friends around the table for Easter or Passover.

“Instead of delivering a message of openness and optimism, I’m here instead with a plea. Please, please, follow Alberta’s health restrictions and guidelines this weekend,” he said.

“If you’re going to get together with people, please do it outside, not indoors, and please try to keep a distance.”

Premier Kenney said with the current ratio of hospitalizations with the new variant, they expect to climb back up to roughly 500 hospitalizations within two weeks.

“If growth continues on its current pace, that will turn into about 1,000 people in hospital a month from now,” he said.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the danger of the increase in variant cases is that it’s more contagious and more likely to cause severe illness.

“If we do not keep cases low now, then it will take longer for us to see the benefits of the vaccine. And we may be dealing with a pandemic into the summer months,” she said.

She echoed the plea from Premier Kenney for citizens to abide by the public health measures.

“To put it plainly, we are once again at a dangerous time,” Dr. Hinshaw said.