The Alberta government has brought in new mandatory and voluntary health measures that will be effective as of November 13th in an effort to slow the growing spread of COVID-19.
Chief Medical Officer of Health, Deena Hinshaw, and Premier Jason Kenney, held their latest COVID-19 press conference update at 3:30 this afternoon and announced that hospitalizations and ICU stays are continuing to climb to peak levels in the province.
Alberta now has 8,305 active cases of COVID-19 and 27,707 recovered cases. There are 225 people in hospital due to COVID-19, including 51 in intensive care. The total number of COVID-19 deaths is 393, 10 more in a 24-hour period.
Starting on November 13th, additional public health measures will be implemented in all regions under an enhanced status. This includes:
• Restaurants, bars, lounges and pubs must stop liquor sales by 10pm and close by 11pm – applies to Class A, B or C licences. The restriction will remain in place until Nov. 27.
• 15-person limit on social and family gatherings – indoors and outdoors – where people are mixing and mingling.
• 50-person limit on indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies and funeral services.
• Faith-based gatherings limited to 1/3 capacity at one time.
There will also be a two-week ban on indoor group fitness classes, team sport activities and group performance activities in Edmonton and surrounding areas, Calgary and surrounding areas, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, and Lethbridge.
Voluntary health measures for regions under enhanced status include:
• No social gatherings inside your home or outside of your community. Instead, socialize outdoors or in structured settings, like restaurants or other business that are subject to legal limits and take steps to prevent transmission.
• Limit of 3 cohorts: your core household, your school, and one other sport or social cohort. Young children who attend child care can be part of 4 cohorts.
• Wear a mask in all indoor work settings, except when alone in a workspace or an appropriate barrier is in place.
• Employers in office settings should implement measures to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time.
All existing guidance and legal orders remain in place in all areas. The province says they are taking these measures to help protect hospitals, keep schools and businesses open, and protect vulnerable Albertans.
“We must take action at this critical point to contain the rapid growth of COVID-19 in our province,” said Premier Kenney.
“Through our actions, we can support the health-care system, keep schools open, protect vulnerable Albertans and keep the economy operating throughout the province. This is our chance. If Albertans respond to these and other public health guidelines now, we won’t need more restrictive measures in the future.”
Dr. Hinshaw also called on Albertans to work together to protect the most vulnerable and try and curb the spread.
“We must reduce the spread of COVID-19. In addition to these measures, I am asking all Albertans to look at our lives and reduce our social and close contact interactions wherever we can. If we can connect virtually or through other means, we need to make that change. By working together, we can protect each other, reduce the spread and protect our health system.”
Alberta Health, AHS and local municipalities will continue to closely monitor the spread across the province.
The Government of Alberta is asking all Albertans to do their part. If these measures are not successful, it will be necessary to implement more restrictive measures.
Local areas under the province’s enhanced “Watch Status” include Whitecourt and Woodlands County, Edson and Yellowhead County, Mayerthorpe and Lac Ste. Anne County, and the Town of Fox Creek and the Municipal District of Greenview.