With Alberta seeing the highest number of active COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, the province announced new targeted regional restrictions during a Thursday afternoon press conference.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said that new measures will apply to municipalities or regions where there are at least 350 cases per 100,000 people and 250 currently active cases.
Currently, this includes Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Calgary, Airdrie, Strathcona County, Lethbridge, and Edmonton.
“We have no choice but to implement these targeted measures to slow growth and bend the curve and protect our health system over the next few weeks,” said Premier Kenney. “These measures are layered on top of Alberta’s robust public health restrictions and will buy a little more time for our vaccination program to protect more Albertans and win the race against the variants.”
“We must respond with a firm stand against COVID-19 now so that we can enjoy a great Alberta summer.”
Effective April 30, all indoor fitness activities, including team sports and one-on-one training sessions, are prohibited. Outdoor fitness activities may continue under the province-wide restrictions that are currently in place.
Effective Monday, May 3, all grade 7 to 12 students in hot spot municipalities and regions will shift to online learning.
The government may also implement a curfew where case rates are significantly high (specifically case rates above 1,000 per 100,000), or if a municipality or region requests it.
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“These targeted restrictions will remain in place for at least two weeks for any community or area that reaches this trigger,” reads a media release from the Alberta government.
The enhanced measures will be lifted once a municipality falls back below the threshold, no sooner than 14 days after being put in place.
The Alberta government noted that all other current public health restrictions, including masking, physical distancing, prohibitions on social gatherings, and working from home requirements remain in place province-wide.
“I know Albertans, even those who have faithfully followed the health guidance and worked to keep not only themselves but their fellow citizens safe, are tired,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.
“But if we can muster the strength to make it through these next few weeks, we will allow our vaccination program a chance to protect more Albertans, and in end, we will get COVID-19 under control in Alberta.”
A detailed listed of the new targeted measures and current hotspots can be found on the Government of Alberta’s website.