Above: Localized numbers from Wednesday afternoon’s update.
Rachel Notley, leader of the NDP Official Opposition, called on Jason Kenney’s UCP government to implement a mandatory mask policy for all public indoor spaces in all enhanced list regions.
Alberta has three COVID-19 designations, open, watch (at least 10 cases and 50 per 100K of population) and enhanced. Currently, the entire Edmonton region is under the purple enhanced zone. In total, 91 of the province’s 142 regions are under enhanced designation.
“The number one way we can protect the most vulnerable is to control community spread,” Notley said in a media release. “Rural areas and smaller communities are at higher risk of seeing their hospitals and continuing care centres overwhelmed and their economies hurt if we don’t get COVID-19 cases under control.”
The NDP cite Manitoba as an example and say hospitals in smaller communities were quickly overwhelmed.
“This UCP government has already gone out of their way to undermine health care in rural and remote parts of Alberta. I’m very concerned that if we don’t reduce cases quickly, these centres will be completely overrun,” Notley said. “At the end of the day, it’s a fairly simple thing we can do. Masks reduce community spread and don’t hurt the economy.”
Saskatchewan has mandated masks in all communities over 5000 in population.
“We’re not talking about a province-wide policy here,” said Notley. “But we have a list of regions that are at higher risk and we think it makes sense that there be a consistent rule for all those on that list.”
Currently, Albertans in enhanced zones are asked to voluntarily “Wear a mask in all indoor work settings, except when alone in a workspace or an appropriate barrier is in place.”
Both Morinville and Sturgeon County have mandatory mask bylaws.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Morinville has 21 active cases and there are 52 in Sturgeon County.
A complete list of measures for the Edmonton region can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx