Stricter measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 are being discussed in Alberta, sources have confirmed to Global News.
Sources said high level meetings took place Wednesday, and are continuing Thursday. Proposed restrictions are expected to affect recreational sports, dance and fitness classes.
In her last in-person update on Monday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said conversations were underway to consider further restrictions, but no final decisions were announced.
Also Monday, 174 Alberta physicians, including emergency room doctors and infectious disease specialists, wrote a public letter to Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney saying more needs to be done immediately to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed in caring for both those with COVID-19 and other patients.
“If the rate of COVID-19 spread continues, the consequences to the people of Alberta will be catastrophic,” the doctors wrote.
“The province should consider a two-week, short, sharp lockdown, or ‘circuit breaker’ to drop the effective reproductive number and allow contact tracing to catch up.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged premiers to strengthen measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Premier Jason Kenney has repeatedly said that the province must strike a balance between not overwhelming the health-care system and not decimating the economy.
“The premier has been very clear that his goal is to protect both lives and livelihoods,” Kenney’s spokesperson Christine Myatt told Global News on Tuesday.
No new restrictions have been announced for Alberta since last Friday, when mandatory 15-person gathering limits were placed on all municipalities on the province’s “watch” list. Voluntary measures asking Edmonton and Calgary residents not to host social gatherings or parties in their homes were also stressed.
On Wednesday, 672 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Alberta, along with seven additional deaths.
There were 217 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 46 in intensive care.
Hinshaw’s next in-person update on COVID-19 is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
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