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Albertans should respect individual choice about mask-wearing, says Premier Kenney

Viral cases rose slightly in Red Deer to 298
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney hopes Albertans will de-politicize mask wearing. (Photo by Government of Alberta)

Premier Jason Kenney says he hopes Albertans will “de-politicize” mask-wearing and respect individual choice.

Kenney was asked his opinion on some people continuing to wear masks, even though Alberta’s indoor masking rules have mostly been dropped, during a media conference on Tuesday about charter schools.

“It’s up to each Albertan,” to evaluate their own risk and comfort levels, said Kenney.

Some people have compromised health conditions or work in close quarters with others in poorly ventilated spaces and think it’s safer to wear a mask, he added.

“I’d like us to de-politicize all of this,” stressed Kenney, who noted, whereas certain people refused to wear masks during restrictions as they were upset about rules being imposed by government, now he hears some people are continuing to wear masks because they are upset restrictions were mostly lifted.

Masks are only required now at Alberta nursing homes, hospitals and public transit.

“I think there’s been to much division throughout the COVID era. I hope we can leave that behind us and respect personal choice,” Kenney said.

On Tuesday, Alberta Health’s reported COVID-19 numbers showed a small up-tick, with a total of 459 active cases confirmed on Tuesday, compared to 447 viral cases reported for Sunday.

There were four new deaths since the weekend due to implications of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total of pandemic deaths to 4,025.

Alberta Health stated on Tuesday there are 6,422 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta, according to confirmed lab testing results.

Hospitalizations in the province were at 1,001 people, with 70 in intensive care.

In the Central zone, there were 952 active COVID cases, with 124 people in hospital and eight in intensive care. There have been a total of 512 deaths in the zone.

Active COVID cases in Red Deer have risen by a few to 298, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website Wednesday. There is one new COVID-related death, bringing the total to 99 in the city.

Stettler County had 17 active cases, Clearwater County has 63, Mountain View County had 23, Red Deer County had 63, the City of Lacombe had 21, Lacombe County also had 21, Olds had 19 and Sylvan Lake had 28.

Wetaskiwin, including Maskwacis, had 72 active cases, while Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, had eight and Rimbey, including West Ponoka County and part of Lacombe County, had five.

The City of Camrose had 40, Kneehill County had 16, Camrose County has nine and Drumheller had seven.

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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