Increase in Omicron cases causing needed adjustments to city services

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As the Omicron variant continues to infect more Albertans, the City of Edmonton said no service reductions have been made yet, but 51 firefighters, about 4.5 per cent of firefighters in Edmonton, are currently off duty due to COVID-19.

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Although 51 firefighters are off the job right now, there are currently 25 active cases connected to the Edmonton fire outbreak, said Christa Jubinville, an Alberta Health spokesperson.

“Protecting Edmontonians from fire is a vital service to this city,” reads a Tuesday evening public service announcement from the city. “Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) continues to move people and supplement different shifts to ensure that this core service is properly staffed.”

The city added there is a total of about 200 active COVID-19 cases in its workforce.

“Due to increasing COVID-19 cases across city departments, minor adjustments are being considered across all departments to continue delivering priority services to Edmontonians,” reads the announcement.

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“The city is committed to keeping its critical and vital services accessible to Edmontonians throughout the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

There are no service disruptions at this time, but the city said reductions to city services will continue to be considered if Omicron cases cause further disruption to its workforce.

If adjustments to city services are needed, Edmontonians will be notified as soon as possible.

As of Monday, the provincial government changed COVID-19 isolation requirements for fully vaccinated Albertans — reducing it from 10 days to five if they are showing no symptoms. However, for five days following isolation, those people must wear a mask at all times when outside their home.

The city said there are currently no essential workers who the city is allowing to return to work before their isolation period is over, even though the provincial guidelines allow it.

“We will re-evaluate that decision if and when it may be needed,” said the city.

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