EDMONTON -- Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took aim at those questioning the reality of COVID-19 and refusing to wear masks during a Facebook live stream on Thursday night. 

The premier spoke directly to those who have attended recent anti-mask rallies in Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer. His comments also came hours after the province announced new highs in daily cases, hospitalizations and test positivity percentage. 

"If you think this is a hoax, talk to my friend in the ICU, fighting for his life," said Kenney.

"If you’re thinking of going to an anti-mask rally this weekend, how about instead send me an email, call me all the names you want, send me a letter, organize an online rally."

To those who simply refuse to wear a mask, Kenney said: "Don't go where you have to wear a mask."

The premier had been criticized for not speaking out earlier against similar rallies. Alberta also remains the only Canadian province without a mandatory mask law. 

Kenney has resisted implementing a province-wide mask mandate, saying it would create "a backlash" and encourage people to uncover their faces in acts of defiance.

As of Friday morning, Alberta has the most active cases and second highest hospitalization rate of any Canadian province.