EDMONTON -- A University of Ottawa immunologist isn't backing down from online comments taking Alberta to task for its COVID-19 response. 

Amir Attaran drew attention on Twitter last week with a number of comments regarding the province's pandemic plans.


He also took issue with the province's lack of masking law, refusal to implement a lockdown and request to Ottawa for field hospitals to help with surging hospitalization numbers.

"Albertans are killing themselves by refusing to lock down or wear masks and that instead of fixing the problem's source, we're begging Ottawa for field hospitals," he tweeted.

Despite on online backlash, Attaran is standing by his comments. 

"You can shoot the messenger if you don't like the fact that your province is simply the most badly affected," he said. 

"Go ahead and shoot the messenger if you like, but it doesn't change the fact that you have a problem." 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's issued a statement to CTV News saying Attaran's commentary was "absurd" and that he lacked credibility to discuss Alberta issues. 

"As the Premier and Minister Shandro have made clear, the request for additional assistance from the Red Cross was made as part of AHS’s contingency pandemic planning and Alberta is nowhere near requiring such added capacity at this time," reads the statement. 

On Friday, Alberta recorded its second highest one-day increase in COVID-19 cases to date while also setting records for hospitalizations and hospitalizations. The province has broken its own active case record for 16 consecutive days.