Calgary, Edm see new coronavirus restrictions as cases reach record highs

Oct 26 2020, 3:41 pm

New mandatory coronavirus restrictions have been put into place for the cities of Edmonton and Calgary as of Monday.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the new measures during a live press conference, stating that the recent rise in new and active cases throughout the province forced the new restrictions.

“We are in a crucial phase right now and need to take steps to reduce the rate of growth that we are seeing, not only in Edmonton, but in Calgary as well,” Hinshaw said.

“At the same time, we must continue to strike a balance between limiting the spread of COVID-19 and supporting all the other elements of people’s health. This is a delicate balance, and there is no one perfect way to navigate this pandemic.”

Hinshaw noted that social gatherings accounted for 15% of the province’s outbreaks, and were connected to just under a third of the province’s outbreak-related cases.

She stated that only one outbreak had been seen in a restaurant over the past two weeks, however.

Effective immediately, both Edmonton and Calgary will have a 15-person limit on social gatherings, including dinner parties, birthday parties, retirement events, baby showers, and wedding and funeral receptions.

“These social gatherings tend to be less structured and can struggle to implement key measures like social distancing and hand washing to reduce the risks of exposure,” Hinshaw said.

The newly implemented restrictions do not change the measures currently in place for structured events, dining at restaurants, movie theatres, places of worship, and funeral and wedding ceremonies.

The new restrictions come after a weekend that saw Alberta’s largest spike in cases to date, with an active case increase of 826 bringing the province’s total to 4,477.

A total of 1,440 new cases of coronavirus were detected over the weekend, resulting in Saturday and Sunday breaking records for most new cases seen in one day at 572 and 504.

Hinshaw noted that the new 15-person limit is temporary with plans to reassess after one month, or after the growth rate drops below 1 and both cities are consistently seeing new daily cases below 100.

Hinshaw also announced that the voluntary restrictions put into place in Edmonton earlier this month have now been extended to Calgary, which include the recommendation to wear masks in indoor work settings and to limit the number of cohorts any one person is in to three.

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