Despite an easing of restrictions, which went into effect on Monday, January 18 and permit personal and wellness services to resume one-on-one operations by appointment only, there will be no additional lifting of restrictions at this time.
Restrictions on indoor and outdoor social gatherings, including in-person dining and indoor recreational activities, was originally announced on December 8, 2020 and were extended earlier in January until at least January 21.
During the Thursday, January 21 COVID update, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said, “Our cases are falling, but we still have the second highest active case rate per capita in Canada.”
Numbers show the restrictions are helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and, as of Thursday’s conference, more than 96,000 doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered.
However, Dr. Hinshaw noted, “We are not in the clear just yet.”
The Thursday press conference marked one year since Dr. Hinshaw gave her first provincial COVID-19 update.
Since then, there have been more than 120,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and nearly 1,600 deaths reported across the province.
During the Monday, January 25 COVID update, Alberta’s Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announced two new variants strains of COVID-19, which were first identified in the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa, have been reported in Alberta.
There are currently five cases of the South African variant, and 20 cases of the UK variant strains. All but one case of the UK variant strain has been linked to international travel.
“These new variants present a serious threat and a complicating factor when it comes to relaxing restrictions. We need to continue to proceed cautiously, recognizing our health system is still under significant strain,” Minister Shandro said during the update.
Due to these concerns, no timeline for when Albertans can expect further easing or lifting of restrictions was given.
As of Monday, January 25 there are 13 active and 162 recovered cases in Drumheller; there have been a total of four deaths locally since the start of the pandemic.
There are eight active and 38 recovered cases at the Drumheller Institution. A spokesperson for Correctional Service Canada (CSC) told the Mail, “The measures to contain the spread (of COVID-19) remain in place. Normal routine will be re-established at the Institution once it is determined to be safe to do so, according to public health advice.”
As of Monday, January 25 there are four active cases in Kneehill County, 11 in Starland County, and 24 in Wheatland County.
Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail