Albertans growing less satisfied with provincial COVID-19 response, new survey says; 76 new cases

Premier Jason Kenney.

Albertans are becoming more critical of the way Premier Jason Kenney has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Angus Reid survey suggests.

Only about half of Albertans (51 per cent) who responded to

the online survey

, which polled a representative random sampling of more than 1,500 Canadian adults between Aug. 5 and 8, believe Kenney is doing a good job of handling the novel coronavirus.

It’s a drop in confidence in Alberta’s premier from previous polls in April and July, which both found about two-thirds of respondents believed Kenney was doing a good job with the pandemic.

The poll also finds 47 per cent of Albertans believe Kenney is doing a bad job of handling the pandemic, the most of any premier whose constituents were polled. The only other premier to break 40 per cent disapproval is Manitoba’s Brian Pallister.

The growing displeasure in Alberta’s response could be the result of a prolonged spike in COVID-19 cases that continues to grip the province after first emerging in mid-July.

There are some signs the worrying trend could be abating, including Alberta’s announcement Thursday that there were 76 new cases of the coronavirus in the province, down from 121 Wednesday.

The new cases were the result of about 7,750 tests, equivalent to a one per cent positive rate. They bring Alberta’s running total since the start of the pandemic to 11,969, including 10,713 people who have now officially recovered from the virus.

Active cases in Alberta dipped slightly Thursday to 1,036, with more cases in the Alberta Health Services Edmonton zone (475) than any other provincial health region. The Calgary zone has 314 active cases.

A total of 220 Albertans have now died of COVID-19 after the province reported three new deaths Thursday. One death was of a woman in her 80s at Edmonton’s Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre, bringing that facility’s toll from the virus to 29, the most of anywhere in Alberta.

The other two deaths were of a man in his 90s at the Heimstaed Seniors Lodge in La Crete, about 670 kilometres north of Edmonton, and another man in his 90s who lived in the Central zone and was not connected to any continuing-care site.

Alberta’s hospitalizations stayed steady Thursday, with 50 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, 12 of whom are receiving treatment in intensive-care units.

Aside from the unsteady case numbers, Angus Reid also indicated that the province’s plan for a return to school for K-12 students in September may be partly responsible for the dipping approval rate.

Parents and teachers have heavily criticized the plan

from Alberta Education, saying measures are insufficient to protect students and teachers given large class sizes and stagnant funding.

On Wednesday, Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw

advised all educational staff in the province to book themselves a COVID-19 test

before returning to the classroom in the upcoming weeks.

Elsewhere in the survey, it was found about one-in-five Albertans believe current public-health restrictions are too strict. The only province where more people think restrictions should loosen up is Quebec, where a quarter of respondents want to see measures lifted.

Two southeast Calgary eateries received writeups from AHS this week for spurning one measure meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The A+ Buffet Sushi and Bar at 6712 Macleod Trail S.E., and the Asian Buffet at 9125 Bonaventure Drive S.E. both received public health orders dated Aug. 11 to switch from buffet to table service. The orders came after each site received verbal warnings Aug. 7.

In both cases, an inspector found the restaurants were allowing patrons to serve themselves from the buffet without having staff present to hand out plates and utensils, control the flow of people, replace the serving utensils after each use and ensure proper hand sanitization.

— With files from Brodie Thomas

[email protected]

Twitter: 

@jasonfherring

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