Alberta enacts 2nd COVID-19 state of public health emergency. Here’s what it means

Alberta is in a second state of public of health emergency as of Tuesday, after 1,115 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours.

New targeted restrictions were also introduced Tuesday based on the recommendations chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw presented to cabinet on Monday. The measures will be in effect for three weeks and re-evaluated after that.

Read more: Alberta adds 1,549 new COVID-19 cases Monday, government expected to announce new restrictions Tuesday

“These mandatory measures will place new restrictions on social gatherings, worship services, businesses, schools and all Albertans,” Premier Jason Kenney said, adding the restrictions weren’t determined lightly.

“We believe these are the minimum restrictions needed right now to safeguard our health-care system, while avoiding widespread damage to peoples’ livelihood.”

Social gathering restrictions

The first new restriction is aimed at social gatherings, and prohibits any indoor social gathering in any setting, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, effective immediately.

“Social gatherings are the biggest problem,” Kenney said. “It is the key reason why COVID-19 is winning. These gatherings in the home continue to be the largest form of transmission.”

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No more than 10 people can be present at wedding and funeral ceremonies as of Tuesday, and receptions are also off limits.

Festivals and events are also prohibited under the state of public health emergency, and people are encouraged to work from home if possible. Masks were made mandatory in workplaces in the hotspots of Calgary and Edmonton, and their surrounding areas.

Changes to school structure

Schools across the province are also moving to online learning until the new year – with Grades 7 to 12 starting at-home learning as early as Nov. 30.

Read more: Calgary to consider state of local emergency following provincial restrictions

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will begin online learning on Dec. 18.

All students will be out of the classrooms until Jan. 11, 2021.

Tuesday’s case numbers

As of Tuesday, Alberta had 13,349 active cases of COVID-19.

Alberta’s death toll also rose to 492 on Tuesday, as 16 more people sick with COVID-19 died since Monday.

The majority of Tuesday’s deaths were in the Edmonton Zone, with six people – a woman in her 70s, two women in their 90s and three men in their 90s – dying after contracting the virus at South Terrace Continuing Care in the Edmonton Zone.

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Two men in their 80 died in the last 24 hours, one connected to the outbreak at Capital Care Lynwood in the Edmonton Zone and the other linked to the Royal Alexandra Hospital outbreak.

Two people linked to the outbreak at the Rosealta Lodge in the Central Zone also passed away; a man in his 90s and a woman in her 100s.

The remaining deaths were all in the Edmonton Zone and were not linked to outbreaks, and included two men in their 70s, a woman in her 60s, two men in their 60s and a woman in her 100s.

— More to come

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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