When it comes to transparency, the Alberta government dropped the ball when it came to informing the public of two separate outbreaks of the P.1 COVID-19 variant of concern.
Alberta’s top doctor, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, tweeted on April 3 that a “significant” outbreak of the variant that originated in Brazil had been identified in Alberta, and was linked to a returning traveller from out of province. However, neither she nor the government provided any additional information, stating further details would be released on April 5.
That declaration led to some flak for the Alberta government over the Easter weekend. People argued Hinshaw should have disclosed more details about the outbreak, such as where in the province it was identified or how many people were affected, so people could know to either avoid that region or so residents there could be extra cautious.
Two days after Hinshaw's tweet, it was revealed two separate COVID-19 outbreaks that included some P.1 cases originated from PTW Energy Services work sites in Edson, Drayton Valley and Hinton. The mayor of Edson posted on Twitter that he learned of the outbreak in his community from media reports, instead of the government.
The lack of transparency from the Province came at a time when COVID-19 cases are, once again, climbing at an alarming rate in Alberta and have reached their highest totals since early January. Despite the ongoing spike in cases, the government did not provide press conferences over the Easter weekend, instead releasing preliminary data and stating hospitalizations remained “stable.”
An April 5 update indicated our province was reporting 10,582 active cases, 40 per cent of which are variants of concern. Hospitalizations had risen from 292 on April 1 to 314 by that date. ICU admissions had risen in the same time frame from 59 to 76.
Did the government take the Easter weekend off? Because COVID-19 didn’t. When reporting variants outbreaks, the government should not leave people in the dark.