The Town of Hinton remains on the list of municipalities in Alberta where high COVID-19 case restrictions are in effect, which will remain in place for at least three weeks even if the community moves below the threshold.
Additional restrictions are in effect for regions with at least 50 cases per 100,000 people, and at least 30 active cases.
The provincial website briefly showed Hinton under the low case restrictions on Monday without any explanation from the province and despite not dipping below the threshold.
MLA Martin Long’s office did not explain why the sudden change in restrictions prior to the Hinton Voice deadline.
Over the weekend, Hinton had 20 active cases and 168.8 cases per 100,000 people, while on Monday, that number dropped to 15 cases and 126.6 per 100,000 people.
While that is still well above the 50 cases per 100,000, Hinton has not had 30 or more active cases since the week prior.
Currently Hinton has 16 active cases of COVID-19, with the Town of Hinton confirming that one of their employees tested positive this week.
Upon being identified as a close contact of a confirmed case on May 5, 2021, the Town employee began self-isolating, and tested positive for COVID-19 a few days later.
The Town’s internal Safe Work Practices were activated and rigorous environmental cleaning of the necessary areas was completed immediately.
The Town notified employees who had been identified as close contacts to provide them with further guidance. At this time, no additional positive test results have been identified.
Under the high case restrictions, many businesses are not permitted to open, including all indoor and outdoor fitness and recreation centres, and personal and wellness services.
Higher restrictions also prohibit funeral receptions and limit capacity at funeral services, places of worship, and retail. Only five individuals are allowed to gather outdoors.
Under the higher restrictions, any workplace with transmission of three or more cases will be required to close for 10 days.
“Our protocols are robust, revisited, and revised on a regular basis and are written to address tighter internal restrictions than are currently in place,” stated Heather Waye, Hinton’s strategic services manager.
Town buildings are currently closed to the public, although appointments may be made.
In the case of three or more active COVID-19 cases in one building, that building would be closed to the public with appointments shifted to an alternative method until the building could reopen.
The Town can keep essential services running, as per provincial guidelines.
Ken Lovsin, vice president of Freson Bros., explained that grocery stores are also an essential workplace and would not be required to close.
“We have been and will continue to follow all government of Alberta requirements and community bylaws in relation to COVID-19 protocol,” he said in an email.
To view all COVID-19 regional active cases, go to alberta.ca/maps/covid-19-status-map.htm.
Masha Scheele, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hinton Voice