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AB COVID UPDATE

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative


The province is moving forward with phase one of the relaunch strategy.

Premier Jason Kenney stated that the daily reported cases of COVID-19 in Alberta peaked at 336 on April 23 and has declined ever since, while combined hospitalization and ICU admissions peaked at 96 on April 30 and has also declined since.

While the growth curve has flattened in most of Alberta, the areas of Calgary and Brooks will be moving into phase one over a longer time period due to their high numbers of COVID-19.

On May 13, Alberta had 70 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and 11 in ICU, with a surge in recovery numbers.

The probable scenario in the modeling presented in late-April by Alberta Health Services (AHS) projected that hospitalizations would peak at 600 COVID-19 patients in mid-May, while ICU admissions would peak at 190 at the same time.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on May 12 that for the province to move forward with phase 1 of the relaunch strategy, two factors that must be met are stable hospitalization rates or less than a five per cent increase from the previous week, and ICU occupancy of less than 50 per cent of what is available. 

The number of cases have to remain relatively stable, with no outbreaks and increases, for the province to move forward in the relaunch strategy.

Physical distancing directions from the province remain in place, including keeping a two-metre distance from others and no gatherings of more than 15 people.

“I am confident that it is the right time to move into stage one. That being said, stage one allows businesses to open at the discretion of owners and operators,” Hinshaw said.

On Monday, May 11, the province launched the new alberta.ca/bizconnect webpage to provide business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces and sector-specific guidelines for those able to open in stage one of relaunch.

Alberta.ca/bizconnect includes a red tape reduction submission form so business owners can share their ideas on modernizing regulations as they respond to COVID-19.

The provincial government permitted travel to summer homes, cabins and cottages within Alberta. Those travelling within the province should consider local community guidelines and the health and safety of small communities.

On May 8, the province passed the Utility Payment Deferral Program Act to allow Albertans experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to defer their natural gas and electricity utility payments until June 18.

The ABTraceTogether app has more than 162,686 registered users. The app was created to enhance current manual contact tracing and capacity, and facilitate early detection.