Kenney didn't say Alberta is 'testing too much.' But what he did say isn't accurate.
File photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)
EDMONTON -- You may have spotted a tweet going around Thursday from Alberta Official Opposition leader Rachel Notley’s chief of staff.
It quotes Alberta’s Premier as saying Alberta’s COVID-19 case count is up because we “test too much,” a defense often used by U.S. President Donald Trump to argue against his pandemic response record.
Fact check: Kenney didn’t actually say that. At least not anywhere CTV News can find. But what he did say about testing isn’t totally accurate.
During Question Period on Wednesday, Notley went after Kenney for the fact Alberta has more active COVID-19 cases than British Columbia despite having a smaller population by approximately 700,000 people.
Included in Kenney’s response was this:
“Why do we have more cases than B.C.? Because we are testing at three times their rate.”
Notley responded with: “Thank you, Mr. Donald Trump.”
We won’t even get into the “more testing equals more cases” debate, but let’s just look at Kenney’s claim and compare Alberta to B.C. There’s an easier way to compare: positivity rate.
As of Nov. 25, Alberta’s positivity rate stood at around 8.3 per cent, according to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw who announced that number. The day before it was 8.12 per cent.
British Columbia’s positivity rate is 6.42 per cent.
In terms of testing, Alberta has done a lot, especially early on in the pandemic when the province’s testing rate was among the top countries in the world, as Kenney often reminds us.
But things have levelled out.
According to its COVID-19 online dashboard, B.C. completed 11,492 tests in the previous 24 hours as of Nov. 25.
Conversely, Alberta’s Tuesday test count was 15,644.
B.C. lists its testing rate as being 14.8 per cent (148,791 people per million). In Alberta, more than 1.4 million people have been tested, or approximately 32.7 per cent.
Overall, Alberta has conducted more tests than B.C. (2.16 million vs. 1.09 million) and tested a greater percentage of the population, but it is much closer to double, not triple.