Alberta Premier Jason Kenney does not believe the province should increase COVID-19 restrictions, despite active case numbers returning this week to where they were in May.

“Alberta’s belief is we’re not going to micromanage our way out of this,” Kenney said. “We’re only going to get through this if people exercise personal responsibility, and that’s what we call on Albertans to do.

“We think, based on the advice of our chief medical officer, we currently have the right set of public health measures in place.”

Kenney made the comments at a news conference Wednesday.

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Nightclubs, banquet halls in B.C. ordered closed again as COVID-19 cases rise

In B.C., chief medical officer of health Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday all nightclubs and banquet halls in that province would have to close.

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That province also added additional restrictions to restaurants — ending liquor sales in bars, pubs and restaurants by 10 p.m., and all establishments must close by 11 p.m. unless full meal service is still being provided.

Nightclubs in Alberta are included in Stage 3 and therefore have not been allowed to reopen yet.

Kenney said he is taking advice from Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw but also believes adding increased restrictions would come with unintended consequences.

“We want to do everything we possibly can to avoid jerking around people — indiscriminately shutting down their businesses, their jobs and their livelihoods.

“We have to be focused on the imperative of not just saving lives, but also saving livelihoods,” Kenney said. “The ultimate downstream consequences of constantly shutting down businesses and laying people off will be depression, potentially addiction, huge family challenges, pushing people into poverty. And that is unacceptable.”

On Wednesday, during a news conference when she updated the provincial numbers, Hinshaw said she does not believe more restrictions are necessary at this time.

“We’re continuing to look at our numbers, and to try to understand if there is an additional formal restriction that is required,” she said.

“We have not found one particular type of business or location where we think that creating those additional restrictions would help our daily case numbers.”

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Hinshaw added that health officials have found that the spread in Alberta is showing a trend more related to social interactions, not specific businesses like restaurants.

“We are encouraging Albertans to be following public health measures in all aspects of their lives,” she said. “That seems to be what’s driving the majority of cases — are social interactions, household interactions, close contact interactions — where it really is outside of that formal business environment.”

On Tuesday, B.C. reported reported 429 new cases of COVID-19 over the previous four days, including the Labour Day weekend. Over the same period, Alberta reported 619 cases.

On Wednesday, Alberta recorded 98 new cases, but also saw 205 new recoveries, bringing the active number in Alberta down to 1,585.

Alberta has 248 deaths related to the disease, as of Wednesday.

On Tuesday, B.C. reported 1,386 active cases and a total of 213 deaths, and does not update its provincial numbers online each day until 6 p.m. PT.

According to Statistics Canada, as of April 2020, B.C. has a population of around 5.1 million, while Alberta has around 4.4 million people who live in the province.

Canadian COVID-19 cases soar as new school year begins

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Kenney said Wednesday that he believes Alberta has done well when it comes to managing COVID-19.

“I think at this point, Alberta has done a very good job of preventing the spread,” he said. “The average age of COVID-19 related fatalities in Alberta is 84. The average life expectancy in the province is 83. And the vast majority of those who we have lost to COVID-19 were not only the average age of 84, but they had one or more chronic health conditions or comorbidities.

“So the real challenge for us is to protect the most vulnerable, particularly seniors in congregate living facilities.”

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