‘Irresponsible and dangerous’: Hinshaw offers stern warning about COVID-19 parties

EDMONTON –

Alberta Health is investigating whether an Edson party advertising itself as a “get COVID” event to build up natural immunity to the virus actually happened.

CTV News was unable to confirm a report that multiple Edson residents were sent to ICU after deliberately trying to infect themselves with COVID-19 at a party.

“I don’t know anything about this party other than what I’ve heard and seen in the news,” Dr. Everett Zdrill said.

Zdrill is one of two doctors in the town of Edson who intubates COVID patients at Edson Healthcare Centre. Severe cases are usually transferred to Edmonton ICUs.

Zdrill shared how when cases were lower, he would transfer one patient per month.

“Last week, I transferred four patients in four days,” Zdrill said.

One of those transfers was a man in his 20s. All four were unvaccinated, Zdrill said.

Alberta Health Services says in the last eight days, six people have been transferred to Edmonton ICUs from Edson – two directly from the emergency department.

It’s not known how the six contracted the virus.

Kevin Zahara, mayor of Edson, said in a tweet that the city was not aware of any such party occurring.

On Thursday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw couldn’t confirm whether such party ever took place, but had stern words for anyone considering holding such gatherings where the goal is to get COVID-19.

“I cannot confirm that these reports are accurate,” she said. “Whether or not this specific report is verified, what is important to know is that anyone contemplating this kind of activity should know that this consequence, severe illness and transmitting to others who may become severely ill or even die is an absolutely likely outcome.

“Hosting or attending an event like this in the current time of crisis is irresponsible and dangerous,” Hinshaw said.

In Alberta, 73 per cent of the eligible population is vaccinated. In the Edson area, that number is 50 per cent.

“This town is kinda full of rednecks,” 19-year-old Edson resident Rhiannan said.

The teenager told CTV News that while she didn’t hear of a COVID party, many people simply don’t take the virus seriously.

“People are just kinda careless at this point,” she added. “They just want it to be over and prove a point it’s not a big thing.” 

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