Hotels for COVID-19 quarantines freely available to all Albertans; Fort McMurray numbers drop to 82

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All Albertans can now get quarantine support from the Alberta government.

In a Monday press conference, interim Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver announced Albertans can get a $625 payment when they complete self-isolating requirements in assigned hotels. Prior to this announcement, only residents of Edmonton and Calgary were eligible for this payment.

After receiving a referral from Alberta Health Services (AHS), people unable to isolate safely at home can access a hotel room for up to 14 days.

Hotel rooms are funded by the province and come at no cost to anyone needing the space. McIver added more than 850 Albertans have used hotels for quarantining since the program launched in December.

In a separate update on Monday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there has been a steady decline in new daily cases across Alberta. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions are also dropping. Hinshaw said it is likely the province will ease more COVID-19 restrictions on Feb. 8.

“We have seen cases rise and fall before,” said Hinshaw. “We still have work to do.”

The average daily number of cases in children has also continued falling. Last week, Hinshaw said there was an average of 71 new daily cases. This is down from a daily average of 131 from the week before in-person classes started up again.

“Returning to school in person has not caused increased spread in this age group,” said Hinshaw. “The steady decline we’re seeing is encouraging and a testament to the ongoing hard work of so many.”

Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today