by Morinville News Staff
Alberta is adopting what it calls aggressive new public health measures to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19.
The government announced Thursday afternoon that effective immediately, it is asking all large gatherings or international events in the province to be cancelled and advising Albertans against travel outside of the country.
There are now 23 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta with four new cases confirmed, all travel-related.
One of the confirmed cases is a two-year-old child from the Calgary zone (Alberta Health has five regional zones Calgary, Edmonton, South, Central, and North). The child is now recovering at home. The other three involve a woman in her thirties, a male in his fifties, and a woman in her seventies. They are also all from the Calgary zone. The travellers returned from travelling in Jordan, Egypt, France, Germany, and the United States, specifically Florida.
“We are doing everything possible to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our province. The virus is spreading rapidly and is now a global threat,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “We are implementing these new measures to slow its spread and limit the risks in the weeks ahead. Protecting the health of Albertans is, and always will be, our top priority.”
New public health restrictions
The province is asking organizers to cancel any events that have more than 250 attendees, including large sporting events, conferences and community events. It does not extend to places of worship, grocery stores, airports or shopping centres.
Events with 50 attendees who expect international participants, or involves critical infrastructure staff, seniors, or other high-risk populations should also be cancelled.
Events that do not meet either criterion can proceed, but risk mitigation must be in place, including sanitizer stations and distancing between attendees.
Schools and daycares can remain open but steps should be taken to ensure that no more than 250 individuals are in the same room at any given time. Hinshaw said they are considering Ontario’s move to extend spring break by two weeks.
Travel outside of the country is not being recommended at this time. Given the rapid global spread of the virus, it is no longer possible to assess health risks for the duration of the trip.
All Albertans are encouraged to visit alberta.ca/COVID19 for the latest information, guidance and resources.
Shortly after the chief medical officer’s press conference, the government issue the following notice:
“Following the most recent update by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, a number of precautionary measures are being implemented.
“All tours and public events are suspended and general public access to the Legislature Building and Edmonton Federal Building (EFB) is restricted.
“We encourage people to watch the proceedings of the Assembly and its committees on Assembly Online or on Alberta Assembly TV [Channel 843 (Telus) 930 (Shaw) and 263 (Shaw BlueCurve)]. People can also continue to watch the Daily Routine including Oral Question Period on the Assembly’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.
“Additional updates will be sent out as the situation continues to develop.”