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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney

Alberta introduces new public health measures for COVID-19 hot spot communities

Friday, April 30, 2021 @ 12:28 PM | By Ian Burns

Alberta has brought in new mandatory public health measures to address growing COVID-19 cases in hot spot communities as the province continues its fight against the third wave of the pandemic.

Starting April 30, all indoor fitness and sporting activities are prohibited in hot spot areas. Outdoor activities may continue under provincewide restrictions currently in place, including individual or household one-on-one training with a trainer. On May 3, all junior and senior high school students in hot spot areas will shift to online learning. K-6 students will continue in-classroom learning unless the provincial Education Ministry says otherwise.

Hot spot communities are defined as ones where there are at least 350 cases per 100,000 people, and 250 active cases. This includes Calgary and Edmonton, as well as smaller municipalities such as Lethbridge and Fort McMurray.

 Premier Jason Kenney

Premier Jason Kenney

Premier Jason Kenney said he had “no choice” but to implement the measures, which he said will bend the curve and protect the province’s health-care system.

“I know that a lot of people don’t want to see additional measures, and we are all tired of this pandemic and desperate to move on,” he said at the April 29 press conference announcing the new measures. “But we must respond with a firm stand against COVID-19 now so that we can enjoy a great Alberta summer.”

The restrictions will remain in place for at least two weeks for any community or area that reaches the hot spot trigger. After 14 days, the enhanced measures will be lifted once the municipality falls back below the threshold. The province will also implement a curfew where case rates are significantly high, specifically case rates above 1,000 per 100,000, and if a municipality or region requests it. Details will be announced prior to any curfew being implemented.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Alberta needs to change its approach to fight against the COVID-19 variants of concern which now represent more than 63 per cent of active cases in the province.

“No one person or community is to blame, but the evidence is showing that certain areas are experiencing significantly higher spread,” he said. “To get cases in these municipalities under control, we must take additional action. By following these new restrictions and ramping up our vaccination program, we will be successful in winning this fight.”

As of April 29, there are 21,385 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta, with 632 people in hospital. So far, 165,267 Albertans have recovered from the virus, with 2,075 deaths.

More information about the new restrictions can be found here.

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