EDMONTON, AB – If you’re out in public without a mask, you should be prepared to show a letter explaining why.

Alberta’s top doctor says anyone with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering in public, indoor spaces as per provincial rules, will now require an “exception letter” from a health professional.

Conditions include sensory processing disorders; developmental delays/cognitive impairment; mental illness disorders; recent facial trauma/oral or jaw surgery; allergies to mask components; clinically significant acute respiratory distress.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says it’s a matter of empowering enforcement teams – something that’s especially important during this third wave.

She also says requiring proof isn’t meant to punish people unfairly but to make sure those who are capable of complying with the rules, are doing so.

Hinshaw notes Saskatchewan and Quebec have similar rules around mask exemption letters.

On May 12, Alberta confirmed 1,558 new cases of COVID-19 out of 15,266 tests for a provincial positivity rate of about 10 percent.

Hospitalizations declined by 15 to 722 over the past day though ICU admissions rose by eight to 177.

In Lethbridge there were 10 new cases reported out of 60 total in the South Zone. There are 417 active cases in the city – a substantial day-over-day decline of 34.