Alberta to lift remaining health restrictions

By Ian Burns

Law360 Canada (June 14, 2022, 1:32 PM EDT) -- Alberta is taking the final step in its plan to ease public health measures as the province moves past the omicron variant and COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline.

Effective June 14 at 11:59 p.m., Alberta will move to step three, which includes lifting mandatory masking on public transit and ending mandatory isolation, in common with British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Isolation will remain recommended for those with symptoms, or a positive COVID-19 test.

Masking and any other measures to protect patients in Alberta Health Services (AHS) and contracted health facilities will remain in place through AHS policy as required for infection prevention and control.

“We need to live with COVID-19 while accepting that it will continue to be present,” said Health Minister Jason Copping. “We’ll continue to work to keep Albertans safe by ensuring access to vaccines, antivirals and rapid tests, through ongoing COVID-19 surveillance, and by enhancing health-care system capacity.”

According to the province, the rate of new hospitalizations has been declining since its peak on April 26, when there were 20.7 new COVID-19 admissions per day per million population. As of June 9, the weekly average of new hospitalizations rate was 6.6 per day per million population. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test positivity and wastewater surveillance also show a continuing trend of declining COVID-19 transmission.

“Learning to live with COVID-19 does not mean forgetting about it,” said Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health. “As we bring COVID-19 management in line with other respiratory diseases, it will continue to be vital that we receive our primary vaccine series and any additional booster doses we are eligible for, and continue good habits like washing our hands regularly and avoiding being around others if we feel sick.”

The province said work is underway to prepare for the fall and winter respiratory virus season. This includes maintaining surveillance and testing programs and preparing to expand acute care surge capacity.

More information about Alberta’s COVID-19 response can be found here.

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