Alberta closes indoor eating, group health amid the rising third wave of COVID-19, variant instances

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Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney announced Tuesday that by the end of the week certain health restrictions would be reintroduced across the province as COVID-19 infections rise and cases of worrying variants emerge.

The daily number of new cases in Alberta was just under 1,000 over the long Easter weekend, and the number of cases rose from around 100 a day three weeks ago to 676 new cases, which Kenney said were identified on Tuesday.

“Now variants are pretty consistent across half of our new cases, over 40 percent of our total active cases,” he said.

“In the race between variants and viruses, the variants win.”

To curb the increasing numbers, indoor dining in restaurants will be off the table again from Friday lunchtime. Kenney said that outdoor patios can continue to operate in restaurants and bars, and the facilities can continue to offer take-out and delivery.

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Social events will also be restricted as indoor gatherings are still prohibited and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.

I am concerned about the increasing cases, including variants, in our province. Please continue to make safe decisions and limit personal interactions whenever possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the province. (10/10)

– Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) April 5, 2021

Starting Wednesday at midnight, retail store capacity will also be reduced from 25 percent to 15 percent, and group fitness activities have again been banned. One-on-one fitness with trainers is still allowed.

Performing activities such as dancing, singing, playing instruments, and acting are also restricted for the time being. Libraries were also closed “until further notice”.

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“These measures are supposed to buy us time to get enough Albertans vaccinated so we can finally get through this,” said Kenney.

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All other existing public health restrictions are still in place. In essence, the Alberta move returns to Step 1 of the province’s four-part reopening plan.

When Kenney spoke about the severity of the spread of the variants, he gave an example where a case of the P.1 variant brought to the province by someone from BC resulted in 35 infections of the disease in Alberta.

One person linked to this outbreak has died and two people have been taken to the intensive care unit for treatment, he added.

“These variants are a real enemy of public health and life,” he said.

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Kenney said Alberta is currently on track to report 2,000 daily infections by the end of the month based on the transmission that has taken place so far.

“To be honest, this wave is here. These trends would jeopardize the maximum capacity of our healthcare system until next month, just when we reach critical mass of vaccinations, ”he said.

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Alberta reported 931 new COVID-19 infections Tuesday, bringing the total active cases to 10,809 – a 27 percent increase over the past week, Kenney said.

Hospital admissions rose to 328, with 76 people being treated in intensive care units.

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Alberta Health reported three more COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, all of which included comorbidities.

A man in their nineties and a woman in their nineties whose cases were linked to the outbreak at the McKenzie Towne Care Center in the Calgary Zone died.

A woman in her nineties, also in the Calgary Zone but whose fall was not linked to an outbreak, also died.

With these additional COVID-19-related deaths, the death toll in Alberta exceeded 2,000 on Tuesday.

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– with files from

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