Nenshi calls on province to take ‘bold action’ as Alberta breaks daily COVID-19 case record

CALGARY — City of Calgary councillors and the mayor are speaking out on social media after the province reported a record-breaking 1,584 COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

Alberta’s case numbers released Sunday were the most of any province and several city officials are questioning provincial leadership.

“This weekend’s Covid case counts, hospitalisations/ICU numbers and severe outcomes are deeply troubling,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi wrote in a tweet.

“Even more worrisome is the exponential growth. We need bold action from the Government of Alberta now, in additional to all the things that we need to do in our families.”

Ward 6 Councillor Jeff Davison reiterated those concerns on Twitter Sunday evening.

“If we want to salvage the holidays, we’ve all go to do our part: government and individuals. Social distance, wear a mask, buy local,” said Davison. 

“To hear that there are 1,584 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, the most of record, is shocking and worrisome.”

Ward 3 Councillor Jyoti Gondek agreed the coronavirus figures are a major concern in Alberta and questioned why the province hasn’t done more to flatten the curve. 

“3 out of 4 hospitals in YYC (Calgary) declaring outbreaks,” said Gondek in a Twitter post. 

“There is no possible way we can demonstrate the gravity of this situation beyond these facts. What more does the Alberta government need to see? Jason Kenney and Tyler Shandro — what is the plan?”

#WHEREISKENNEY?

The hashtag #WHEREISKENNEY? began to trend on social media Sunday evening as Albertans continue to call on Premier Jason Kenney to provide more clarity on the province’s COVID-19 situation. 

Kenney is still self-isolating after a close contact tested positive for the virus, but many are wondering why he has not addressed Albertans remotely. His last address was made at a coronavirus briefing on Nov. 12. 

Kenney did not make a statement about the coronavirus spike Sunday, but he did share an update from Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. 

The lack of information from the Premier’s office has prompted Opposition Leader Rachel Notley to call an emergency debate set on the coronavirus to be held Monday in the legislature. 

“This is a time for leadership,” said Notley said in Sunday evening tweet. 

“Premiers across the country are addressing the public, some on a daily basis. There is a need for accountability for the decisions being made — or not being made for that matter.”

Duane Bratt, a political analyst with Mount Royal University, agrees that Kenney’s silence shows a clear lack of leadership. 

“He’s been absent on this issue. He’s okay to have a zoom call to a UCP AGM, but seemingly not okay to speak to Albertans about a growing health crisis,” said Bratt. 

“I don’t know if the policy is to do as little as possible and praise freedom and liberty or if they’re listening to people saying please don’t bring a lockdown, but the fact that they’re absent means they can’t even answer those questions.”

The province has scheduled a COVID-19 update for Monday afternoon. It is not yet known if Kenney will be in attendance. 

A spokesperson for the premier did not directly answer questions related to why Kenney has not appeared remotely at briefings. 

“During this time, he has been working from home, constantly being updated on the evolving situation by Alberta public health officials,” said Press Secretary Christine Myatt in a statement.

“We will continue to communicate regularly with Albertans on the COVID-19 situation, as we have been since the pandemic began.”

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