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Best summer ever? Medical professional warns of summer put on ice for Alberta

Last Updated Apr 4, 2021 at 11:08 am MDT

EDMONTON (CityNews) — While Premier Jason Kenney has publicly announced that Albertans could be headed for their “best summer ever,” that optimism is not being echoed by the province’s medical community.

In a press conference this week, Kenney said the summer months would be enjoyable across the province if people continue to follow public-health guidelines.

“If we stick to our guns for a few more weeks, I truly believe we will head into the best summer ever in Alberta history,” said Kenney.

But at least one medical professional does not quite agree.

Dr. Noel Gibney, a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta’s faculty of medicine, says he’s concerned the premier is giving Albertans the wrong idea.

“If we continue with where we are going now, this will not be the best summer ever in Alberta,” said Gibney. “With all due respect to the premier, I think he is very seriously wrong.”

Gibney points to the rise of new variant cases in the province as a sign of things to come for the summer months.

On Saturday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced a “significant” outbreak of the P1 variant in Alberta linked to a returning traveller.

Alberta identified about 1,100 new cases, of which 550 were variants of concern. Roughly 35 per cent of active cases in the province are variant cases.

“If we let ourselves get to the point where we have vast numbers — eight, nine, 10,000 cases a day — it will take months for this to go away,” said Gibney.