by Stephen Dafoe
As of Thursday, Morinville had one active case, Sturgeon County 8, and St. Albert 17. Of the province’s 364 cases reported Thursday, 266 were in AHS’ Edmonton Zone. With 1112 cases in the City of Edmonton, the entire Edmonton Zone is now deemed an enhanced zone and coloured purple on the Alberta COVID-19 map.
With the shift in designation from watch zone to enhanced zone, Alberta Health implemented voluntary public health measures effective Thursday. They will closely monitor the Edmonton Zone and may implement additional measures may be recommended if needed.
The voluntary measures include reducing family and private gatherings to 15, down from 50. This measure does not affect schools, churches, theatres, restaurants or bars. Additional voluntary measures include wearing non-medical masks in all indoor work settings, except when alone in workspaces, including offices or cubicles, or where separated from others or an appropriate barrier is in place. Hinshaw is also recommending keeping cohort groups to three.
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said Thursday that the Edmonton Zone was at a crucial juncture and that the government was making the new measures voluntary to give Edmontonians the opportunity to turn the tide before it has significant impact on acute care. Should hospitalizations increase by 5 per cent over the next two weeks or if intensive care unit beds read 50 per cent capacity, mandatory restrictions will take effect.
Edmonton Zone includes Devon, Edmonton, Evansburg, Fort Saskatchewan, Gibbons, Leduc, Morinville, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Thorsby, and the surrounding Counties and businesses.
Full details on the voluntary measures can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/covid19-edmonton-zone-public-health-measures.aspx