Long-awaited COVID-19 update from Alta. government Friday at 11:30

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw will provide a COVID-19 update at 11:30 a.m.

The news conference will mark the first time in weeks top decision makers take questions directly from the press.

Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu will also be there.

Watch the event live on TV and CTVNewsEdmonton.ca.

The COVID-19 cabinet committee met on Thursday and Premier Jason Kenney told Albertans a day earlier to expect an announcement from his government this week. His communications staff told media the same.

It’s been more than three weeks since the premier stood before reporters. Kenney was off work for part of August.

In his absence, other ministers and Alberta’s chief medical officer of health have denied the government is avoiding talking to the press, pointing to daily COVID-19 updates made on the provincial website.

However, CTV News requested interviews with all 25 ministers and associate ministers in Kenney’s cabinet and received replies from four press secretaries, none of whom agreed to an interview.

On Thursday, the province reported 1,339 new cases of COVID-19 and 487 hospitalizations.

Since the province’s chief medical officer of health last spoke on Aug. 13 the province’s COVID-19 situation has worsened significantly.

On Aug. 13, the seven-day average of new cases sat at 420 per day, only to rise to 1,118 as of yesterday.

Severe outcomes have also become more frequent over that time frame: the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital grew by 327​, the number in intensive care units increased by 76, and 55 more Albertans have died.

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