People in the Edmonton zone are being asked to follow three new public health measures announced today by the Government of Alberta.
1. Limit your social and family gatherings to no more than 15 people.
2. Wear non-medical masks in all indoor work settings, except when alone in workspaces such as offices or cubicles where you can be safely distanced from others or where an appropriate barrier is in place.
3. Limit your number of cohorts to no more than three.
“The Edmonton zone now faces a crucial juncture,” said Hinshaw, who is the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Province of Alberta.
“We must take action to slow the virus’s spread in the zone and make sure the health system can continue supporting Albertans with COVID-19, influenza and many other needs.”
Hinshaw issued the warning and the voluntary measures at a live streamed news conference where she used data to frame the current viruscape:
1,250+: the number of active cases in the Edmonton zone
364: new cases of COVID in the province
266: new cases in Edmonton
73: percent of new cases in province in Edmonton
1.3: R value in Edmonton. (The R value reveals how many new cases on average are infected by each person who already has the virus. Before this week, Edmonton’s R value was 1.)
“Now is not the time to be gathering in large groups or travelling long distances for the holiday…”Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Hinshaw said the three measures listed above are not mandatory “because we still have sufficient hospital beds and capacity to meet the current needs in Edmonton, but we are moving forward with them because it is important to use our current data as a call to action.”
Hinshaw predicted Edmonton would meet the challenge.
“While these measures are voluntary, I live and work in Edmonton, and I know that our community looks out for one another,” said Hinshaw. “I believe people will do their part to protect themselves, their family, friends and neighbours.”
Hinshaw urged all Albertans to downsize Thanksgiving this year.
“Now is not the time to be gathering in large groups, travelling long distances for the holiday or sharing food or utensils with people outside your cohort,” Hinshaw said.
“Social gatherings and family gatherings continue to be a factor in virus-spreading events. We have also seen several workplace outbreaks where spread between employees has occurred.”
The three cohorts mentioned by Hinshaw are: a core or household cohort, a school or work cohort, and one additional sport, social or other cohort.
At Edmonton City Hall, Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin announced a number of actions, including increased enforcement of the face covering bylaw in shopping centres and public spaces in high outbreak locations.
“We are reviewing our facilities and special event bookings and permitting for the rest of 2020 and will consider reductions to indoor gathering numbers as well as capacity reductions for bookings and outdoor event permits,” said Laughlin.
Laughlin said unless there is a business need to be in the office, City staff who can work from home will continue to do so. Those who do go into work are already required to wear a face covering when moving through the office and service spaces, he said.
Laughlin appealed to Edmonton’s community spirit.
“Over the past eight months they’ve demonstrated how well they can protect themselves and each other under difficult conditions,” said Laughlin. “Today, we are asking Edmontonians to tap into that commitment again and acknowledge that they play a significant role in stopping the spread.”
Editor’s note: The Edmonton zone, which includes Beaumont, Devon, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Morinville, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, St. Albert and Stony Plain, contains 1.2 million people.