Rockyview doctor calls for more action to curb spread
A Lethbridge doctor is one of the leading voices calling for increased restrictions after Alberta's COVID-19 numbers ballooned over the weekend.
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- COVID-19 cases in Alberta continued to climb Monday as the province recorded its fourth straight day of over 1000 new cases as the province added 1549 new cases. The rapidly-escalating numbers have southern Alberta doctors calling for more restrictions from the province.
“We really have no significant policy to restrain the growth of this virus,” said emergency room physicians Dr. Joe Vipond. “Our health care system is about to be overwhelmed, and we are going to go down the same path as Italy, New York City in the spring and currently North Dakota and South Dakota.”
Vipond is the co-founder of Masks 4 Canada, a national grassroots group of physicians and citizens advocating for better COVID policy across the country.
“I don’t see anything stopping this and new restrictions should have been put in weeks ago,” said Vipond. “We’re so late to the party now, that really what’s going to happen is we’re going to need a total lockdown.”
5 additional deaths
In a Monday press conference, Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five more COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the province total number to 476.
“Our numbers are climbing exponentially. That means it’s doubling every 14 days. On December 5, we expect to hit 2,600 cases a day and on December 20 it will be ,5200 cases a day,” said Vipond.
According to the results of the 'COVID-19 in Alberta' poll conducted by ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. from Nov. 18 – 21, just over half of Albertans believe the restrictions announced Nov. 12 did not go far enough.
51 per cent believe restrictions do not go far enough.
29 per cent believe the restrictions were about right.
13 per cent believe the restrictions go too far.
The restrictions, which Premier Jason Kenney called "temporary, time-limited measures to protect the health care system", included:
* A two-week hiatus on all group fitness, teams sports and group performance activities in six of the province's largest cities
* A two-week restriction on serving liquor after 10 p.m. at restaurants, pubs, bars and lounges. These establishments may not operate after 11 p.m.
The province also further reduced the maximum gathering sizes at funerals, weddings and places of worship.
"Ten days ago, the provincial government introduced new measures to blunt the spread of the virus, but they appear to be ineffective, both from a public health and political perspective," said ThinkHQ president Marc Henry in a statement. "The case counts keep climbing, and in many respects, there is growing public disaffection with the lack of something more tangible from government to stop it.”
Vipond does have a message to those discouraged by the UCP’s approach to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Call the premier’s office," he said. "Our leaders need to know that this is really important to Albertans, that this is risking their political re-election.”