Hinshaw to follow Kenney news conference with COVID-19 update

EDMONTON — Alberta’s top doctor will give the province’s COVID-19 update Wednesday afternoon after a news conference by the premier earlier in the day.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is slated to speak as usual at 3:30 p.m. MST. Watch the news conference live on CTVNewsEdmonton.ca. 

Earlier that day, Jason Kenney announced $68.5 million in supports for the continuing care and mental health facilities, also defending the province’s push forward on its reopening plan. 

When asked, he could not promise Alberta wouldn’t have to make more closures in the future if cases rose again. 

“I know no one wants to be on the roller coaster, but we cannot guarantee people that there won’t be a change in policy in the future. We don’t want there to be, but what we’ve heard from these small business owners is that they would rather have an opportunity to operate for a period of time for now while our numbers are coming down and the pressure is being relieved from the hospitals, and if necessary in the future if we see exponential growth, we’ll have to act accordingly,” he told reporters. 

“These are very limited, almost baby steps, toward reopening. But we need to recognize that we can’t suspend businesses indefinitely because many of them simply won’t survive that.” 

On Tuesday, Alberta reported an increase in six COVID-19 variant cases in the province, bringing the provincial total to 57. Contact tracers have not been able to find a link to travel in eight cases, including four connected to a daycare outbreak.

“This is concerning but it does mean we have a better chance of controlling spread when we understand linkages between cases,” Hinshaw said.

Given the situation, the province is changing isolation requirements for returning travellers: they will be informed of the option to quarantine in a government-provided hotel room, but if they choose to stay at home, everyone in the household will also need to quarantine for two weeks after the end of the case’s isolation period for a total of 24 days.

“Given how easily this virus is spreading in homes, this enhancement is necessary to prevent spread in the community,” Hinshaw explained.

The province has 6,912 active cases, with 556 total hospitalizations. For the first time in weeks, ICU admissions have dropped below 100 to 97.

Alberta’s positivity rate sat at 3.5 per cent as of Tuesday.

About 17,000 Albertans have been fully immunized with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 107,400 doses have been administered altogether.

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