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Kenney, Hinshaw concerned about complacency, issue plea ahead of Easter weekend as COVID-19 cases climb

Last Updated Apr 1, 2021 at 11:05 pm MDT

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — Ahead of the long weekend, Premier Jason Kenney is making a plea to Albertans to follow health guidelines as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Kenney says as we enter a third wave of the virus, a lot of Albertans have “tuned out” and are becoming less stringent in adhering to public health restrictions.

“If everyone was simply following the measures in place, we wouldn’t be facing what appears to be a significant surge,” he said.

He is reminding everyone that private gatherings are prohibited–meaning no big family dinner for Easter.

“All of our leading indicators are telling us that we are now in a significant new wave of COVID-19,” said Kenney during Thursday’s COVID-19 update.

“How bad that wave will be is up to all of us.”

“If we just stick to our guns for the next few weeks, we will enter what I truly believe will be the best summer in Alberta history.”

About six per cent of all positive cases end up in hospital, with the premier saying they project at least 500 patients will need to be treated in hospital in two weeks. If the province continues on its upward trajectory, that number could jump to 1,000.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw echoed Kenney’s comments, saying she is worried about complacency.

“We are at a challenging time,” she said. “As the premier said, we just need to get through this next short while.”

Despite concerns over a potential surge in cases, the province stopped short in introducing additional restrictions.

“We have very strong measures in place right now and what we’re calling on Albertans to do is to respect those measures,” Kenney said.

“What we are seeing is a growing number of people who are not complying with the restrictions that are already there, and if they’re not complying with the current restrictions I think they’re not likely to comply with additional restrictions.”

WATCH: Premier Jason Kenney, Dr. Deena Hinshaw give an update on COVID-19 in Alberta

“We are at a challenging time,” she said. “As the premier said, we just need to get through this next short while.”

The province is recording 875 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, with 322 of those cases being variant strains.

Kenney said that it’s only a matter of time that the B.1.1.7 variant becomes the dominant strain in Alberta.

Kenney added they have not “closed the door” to the possibility of introducing additional targeted restrictions.

The province is recording 875 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, with 322 of those cases being variant strains.

Kenney said that it’s only a matter of time that the B.1.1.7 variant becomes the dominant strain in Alberta.

There are 8,653 active cases in the province.

On the vaccination front, Hinshaw says the province has begun offering vaccines to at-risk workers at hospitals and other high-risk sites if their workplace is experiencing significant variant outbreaks.

Less than six per cent of Albertans 65 and over have been immunized.