Alberta reports 1,341 new COVID-19 cases as it opens incentivized self-isolation spaces

EDMONTON — To curb the fastest spread of COVID-19 in 11 communities in Edmonton and Calgary, the Alberta government is expanding a spring program that offered self-isolation space to those who couldn’t quarantine at home.

Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday the province’s data shows community transmission is highest in neighbourhoods whose population largely works in public-facing jobs and sees lower incomes or higher-density living arrangements between multiple generations.

As such, the province is launching the COVID Care Campaign, which will send teams to the communities with the latest information on public health orders in their native language and government or community supports, as well as supplies like masks and hand sanitizer.

Additionally, the province has secured 791 hotel beds in Calgary and more than 1,300 in Edmonton for people who can’t isolate alone at their home.

Those who complete the 14-day isolation period in a hotel will be eligible for a $625 temporary payment, the same as is available for fire and flood evacuees.

“My view is that vulnerable people affected by this public health emergency who do the right thing by self-isolating need similar support to be safe,” Kenney commented.

The communities where these new supports will be available are:

  • Edmonton: Abbottsfield, Castle Downs, Eastwood, Jasper Place, North East, Northgate, Woodcroft East, Woodcroft West
  • Calgary: Lower Northeast, Upper Northeast

Adding 1,341 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Alberta’s new total active case count became 20,649.

Its provincial positivity rate sits at 8.2 per cent.

There are 742 people with the disease in hospital, 137 of whom are in ICUs.

The death tally rose by 11 to 744 since March.

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The premier and several ministers will join Alberta’s Dr. Deena Hinshaw for her regular pandemic update Tuesday afternoon.

The province has some 21,100 active cases after a record day-over-day increase of 1,887 diagnoses on Monday.

Yet, the chief medical officer of health said Alberta’s reproductive rate, or R-value, was 0.98, signalling transmission had plateaued in the province.

Hinshaw said that was “not enough” on its own, and that Alberta needed to see both its R-value drop to at least 0.8 and daily case counts decrease.

She will be joined at 3:30 p.m. MST by Premier Jason Kenney, Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard, Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu, and Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney.

Watch the press conference live on CTVNewsEdmonton.ca.

The province is expecting to receive its first 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday in Edmonton and Calgary.

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