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Alberta in chaos, Kenney plummets to 22%

EDMONTON – 4,037 new cases of Covid-19 in three days, those of last weekend. And another 21 dead. Alberta is literally in the grip of the virus, with increasingly full hospitals: currently there are 1,079 hospitalized patients, of which 257 in intensive care. And about 74% of people in the hospital are not vaccinated. 

The 4,037 new cases were detected, from Friday to Sunday, in this order: 1 October, 1,629 new cases (out of 14,532 tests carried out); 2 October, 1,282 new cases (14,316 tests); October 3, 1,126 new cases (10,417 tests). There are now 20,674 active cases (known) in Alberta, an increase of 459 compared to the update on Friday, divided as follows: Calgary area 4,930, Edmonton area 4,903, central area 4,379, north area 4,211, south area 2,224 (unknown areas 27). And, everywhere, the positivity rate is still very high: over 10%.

An explosive situation, in short, that Prime Minister Jason Kenney (in the pic, from his Twitter profile), after an “open for good” summer, with no restrictions that arrived only in the autumn when it was too late, is paying off in terms of popularity. According to the latest ThinkHQ Public Affairs poll (here the whole document: Kenney-Approval-Release-4Oct21), only 22% of Alberta residents still support the premier and of these only 6% are fully on his side. Against him, 77%. The remaining 1% “not sure”. The data varies little from area to area: nowhere in Alberta does the premier get more than 30%. Of those who voted for Kenney’s United Conservative Party (UCP) in the last election, only 4 out of 10 now support the premier.

In the meantime, there are attempts to encourage vaccination from various quarters and in various ways.

Dr Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, recalled on Twitter, on Monday, that “Our healthcare system is still under great strain. Getting vaccinated dramatically reduces the risk of infection and severe illness which will help reduce demand on our health system”. Health system that is also collapsing due to other emergencies, extra-Covid, as pointed out by the leader of the NDP Rachel Notley who asked the UCO, the premier’s party, to release daily reports on how many critical surgeries are canceled due to the strain on the health system.

Meanwhile, a non-institutional or political initiative to incentivize vaccination has come from a large Calgary-based company that has started a program to encourage its approximately 6,500 employees to get vaccinated. It is ATCO, which offers a $ 1,000 bonus to every fully vaccinated worker. “ATCO firmly believes that COVID vaccinations are critical to the health and safety of our community and our business as it moves forward,” said Jim Landon, president of ATCO Frontec, in a statement to Postmedia. “The incentive is a way to thank those who are already vaccinated and to encourage others to complete their vaccinations as soon as possible.”

Currently, about 84.2% of the province’s eligible population (over the age of 12) have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 74.9% have had two. Approximately 63.7% of the total population received two doses.

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