Alberta Premier Jason Kenney makes an announcement at a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. The Prairies have become the epicentre of the second wave of COVID-19 in Canada with exponential growth in cases linked to pandemic fatigue and a reluctance to impose stricter health measures in the fall, infectious disease experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

Alberta premier to speak on COVID-19 after latest restrictions fail to stop spread

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney is to speak to Alberta’s COVID-19 situation later today following his chief medical officer of health saying that recent restrictions to contain the skyrocketing spread of the novel coronavirus are failing.

The mayors of the two largest cities have already warned that they will use whatever emergency powers they have to bring in their own added measures if the province fails to act.

Kenney introduced somewhat tighter public-health orders two weeks ago to try to rein in the number of COVID-19 cases, but kept stores, waterparks, bars, casinos and restaurants open.

He did ban extended gatherings in private homes.

On Monday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the measures have stopped the numbers from getting worse, but have failed to bend the curve downward, so tougher restrictions are needed.

Alberta has more than 20,000 active cases with 609 people in hospital — 108 of them receiving intensive care — and daily death counts in the double digits for much of the last week.