CALGARY -- Despite some UCP MLAs calling for a regional approach to easing COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney says it’s not being considered right now. 

“Folks need to understand that transmission can happen very fast and we have to look at the broader trends — yes, in the regions, but also the whole province,” Kenney said Thursday.

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes is urging the premier to look at lifting restrictions in regions with fewer active cases. As of Thursday, Medicine Hat recorded 14 active cases of COVID-19.

“It’s about focusing on a regional approach,” said Barnes, who is a member of the UCP.

“It’s about allowing Albertans that are willing to engage in a safe, reasonable practice to open their business or gyms or studios or churches."

Kenney says the recommendation from medical professionals is to move to a regional approach only when there are 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 people in a health zone.

“The closest we get to that is in the South zone at just over 100 cases per 100,000 (people),” Kenney explained.

Earlier this week, Barnes joined Liberty Coalition Canada, a national group pushing back against health measures. 

Alberta is currently in the first phase of easing some of its province-wide restrictions as hospitalization numbers fall.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to offer dine-in service, one-on-one training is now permitted and the province has given the green light for youth sports to practice in groups with 10 or fewer people.

Alberta could move to the second phase of its economic relaunch in just over two weeks, if hospitalizations stay below 450.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, has said at least 21 days have to pass between phases, meaning the earliest Phase 2 can start is March 1.