Alberta Premier Jason Kenney made some big announcements regarding COVID-19 at a press conference on Thursday.
Kenney called in to make the announcement, as he is currently in self-isolation due to being in close contact with a confirmed cases. His test is still pending, though he plans to remain in isolation for the next two weeks no matter the results.
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Kenney stated that the recent rise of coronavirus cases in the province has already begun impacting Alberta’s healthcare system, and that the provincial government has decided, under the guidance of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, to increase public health measures in many areas.
Kenney stated that there are now 225 patients in hospitals throughout Alberta as a result of COVID-19, with 51 of those in the ICU.
“We are at a dangerous juncture in our province. These numbers I’ve just shared add up to one unavoidable fact; the growing number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions are challenging our ability to continue offering non urgent health services that Albertans depend on.”
There are currently 55 communities that have fallen under the enhanced measures status, including the cities of Calgary and Edmonton.
Kenney stated that the following measures will be in place for the next two weeks (November 13 to 27):
- A halt to group fitness and team sports in urban centres where spread is rising; Edmonton and surrounding area, Calgary and surrounding area, Grand Prairie, Lethbridge, Fort McMurray, and Red Deer. The halt does not stop outdoor sports, individual sports, or professional leagues.
- A halt to group performance activities in those same areas, but this does not apply to professional performance venues.
- Restaurants, bars, lounges, and pubs in areas under enhanced status (where there are more than 50 active cases 100,000 residents) must stop liquor sales by 10 pm and close by 11 pm.
The following measures are in place until further notice:
- Albertans living in areas under enhanced measures are strongly encouraged to avoid hosting any social gatherings in their homes.
- A 50 person limit on wedding and funeral services in enhanced status areas
- Faith services in enhanced status areas can see capacity at no more than 1/3rd of the regular capacity.
- Workplaces in areas under watch are being asked to reduce the number of workers in the building at any given time.
“COVID-19 is challenging us and we have to rise to this test,” Kenney said at the press conference.
“We have to bend the curve back down to support our healthcare system to protect vulnerable Albertans, to keep schools open, and to prevent further damage to people’s livelihoods and the economy at a time of great adversity.”