Masks back in public places

·2 min read

The province announced new restrictions on Friday to help protect the health system as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

“Currently, more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases in hospital are unvaccinated, including 91 per cent of patients in intensive care,” said the province.

As of 8 a.m. last Saturday, masks are mandatory for all indoor public spaces and workplaces.

Alcohol service will end at 10 p.m. at all cafes, bars, pubs, and other licensed venues.

The province is encouraging people to limit in-person contacts.

It also recommends unvaccinated Albertans limit indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only two cohort families up to a maximum of 10 people.

Employers are being asked to pause plans to have staff return to work and instead continue with work from home measures.

Schools are not required to implement masking but school boards will continue to set COVID-19 management policies as they deem appropriate.

Along with the restrictions, the province announced a new vaccine incentive.

Albertans who receive their first or second vaccination between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14 are eligible for $100.

“Based on information available in mid-August, an updated projection of estimated COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to the end of September was developed,” the province stated.

“Current actual data is trending toward the high end of the projections; therefore, numbers may exceed the projections.”

Hospitalizations outside of ICU are showing projections with a potential peak of 700 in the following weeks, according to the province.

As of Sept. 6, the County of Grande Prairie has 190 active cases, and the city has 529 active cases.

In the east county, 49.2 per cent have their first vaccination, in west county 45.8 per cent, and the city 50.4 per cent.

Fully vaccinated residents with both doses in the east county is 43 per cent, in west county 40.7 per cent and the city 43.7 per cent.

As of press time, 78.2 per cent of eligible Albertans have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including 70 per cent who are now fully vaccinated with two doses.

“Vaccines are safe, effective, and a game-changer. This is why the current wave is different than what we’ve experienced before,” said Tyler Shandro, minister of health.

On Aug. 29, AHS announced that they had transferred patients from the QEII hospital to other health facilities in the region to have additional acute care beds to provide care for COVID-19 patients.

Days before on Aug. 27 they said that 45 elective surgeries per week at the QEII would be postponed increasing bed capacity and a creating a dedicated COVID-19 unit at the hospital.

The second of three $1-million lottery prizes has been awarded to Amie Gee of Calgary. Her name was drawn from over 1.85 million entries in the Open for Summer Lottery.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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