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Crackdown: Alberta instituting regional COVID-19 restrictions, including Lethbridge

EDMONTON, AB – Lethbridge is one of several communities set to see stricter health measures due to rising cases of COVID-19.

Premier Jason Kenney says the province now has more than 21,000 active cases and 151 people in the ICU, both records during the ongoing pandemic.

Because hospitalizations is a lagging indicator, Kenney says that number will continue to go up, a problem that impacts everyone who needs care for any reason.

“We have no choice but to implement these targeted measures to slow growth and bend the curve and protect our health system over the next few weeks,” Premier Jason Kenney.

Effective Friday (Apr. 30) hot spots across the province where there are more than 350 active cases per 100,000 people will be under tougher restrictions, that includes the City of Lethbridge which had 406.3 active cases per 100k as of Apr 28 data.

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All Jr. and Sr. high schools will move online starting May 3, if they haven’t already, and all indoor fitness activities and sports will be prohibited. The measures will be in place for at least two weeks with affected communities reverting back to Step 1 of the provincial plan once active cases dip below 350 per 100,000 people.

“These measures are layered on top of Alberta’s robust public health restrictions and will buy a little more time for our vaccination program to protect more Albertans and win the race against the variants. We must respond with a firm stand against COVID-19 now so that we can enjoy a great Alberta summer,” said Kenney in a late afternoon news conference on Thursday.

Something new that hasn’t been discussed in Alberta is now being put on the table if the COVID-19 situation gets even worse and that’s a curfew.

The government will implement a curfew where case rates are significantly high, specifically case rates above 1,000 per 100,000, and if a municipality or region requests it.

All other current public health restrictions, including masking, physical distancing, prohibitions on social gatherings and working from home requirements remain in place provincewide.

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Hot spot municipalities include these current communities with a case rate above 350 per 100,000 people and at least 250 active cases:

    • Fort McMurray
    • City of Red Deer
    • City of Grande Prairie
    • City of Calgary
    • City of Airdrie
    • Strathcona County
    • City of Lethbridge
    • City of Edmonton

The following mandatory public health measures will come into effect for hot spot municipalities and regions:

Schools – Starting May 3

  • While schools remain a safe place and are not a main driver of community spread, in order to limit in-person interactions, all junior and senior high school students (Grades 7 and above) will shift to online learning.
  • K-6 students will continue in-classroom learning unless otherwise approved by Alberta Education to shift to online-learning.

Indoor fitness – effective April 30

  • All indoor fitness activities are prohibited. This includes:
    • all group physical activities, such as team sports, fitness classes and  training sessions
    • all one-on-one lessons and training activities
    • all practices, training and games
  • Outdoor fitness activities may continue under provincewide restrictions currently in place, including individual or household one-on-one training with a trainer.

Indoor sport and recreation – effective April 30

  • All youth and adult indoor group physical activities, including team sports and one-on-one training sessions, are prohibited.
  • Outdoor sport and recreation activities may continue under provincewide restrictions currently in place:
    • Outdoor team sports where two-metre distancing cannot be maintained at all times (such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, slo-pitch and road hockey) remain prohibited.
    • Outdoor fitness training is allowed, as are physically distanced group fitness classes with a maximum of 10 participants.
    • Outdoor group physical activity with different households must be limited to 10 people or fewer and two-metre distancing must be maintained at all times.
  • All indoor recreation facilities must close. Outdoor recreation amenities can be open to public access unless specifically closed by public health order.

(With files from the Alberta government)

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