Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deeena Hinshaw had some advice Thursday to all Alberta summer festivals, sporting events, leagues and event organizers that have more than 15 people in attendance; if you have not already cancelled your events, you should do so as soon as possible.
“This decision was not made lightly – we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” Hinshaw said during the daily Alberta press pandemic update, “I know summer festivals and events are incredibly important for many people,” She also advised people to avoid visiting summer homes and any non-essential travel.
For decades Edmonton has proudly boosted itself as a festival city, so this news puts more pain, hurt and loss on top of so much that has already come since Covid- 19 has swept around the world. “I know this is incredibly disappointing. We all look forward to summer,” Hinshaw continued, “This virus has taken many things from us and this is another loss to absorb.”
The province’s officials saw no other choice but to do a blanket ban on summer events and festivals as necessary because of COVID-19’s ability to “spread like wildfire in large groups of people,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw explained.
“To be clear, the orders in place prohibit gatherings of more than 15 people. They also require people gathered in groups of fewer than 15 to maintain a distance of two metres from one another,” Hinshaw explained. “I know summer festivals and events are incredibly important for many people. They provide fun and entertainment in every part of this province, and many people depend on them for livelihood.” Adding, “But we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have seen that festivals and large gatherings hold the potential to be super-spreader events.”
“While we are all eager for a relaunch and want to see an easing of restrictions, now is not the time to have people moving through the province and possibly unknowingly spread the virus,” Hinshaw said.
While all events over 15 people are now cancelled until at least September at the earliest, Hinshaw mentioned that there are still activities Albertans can enjoy safely outside, including walks and gardening.
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Alberta premier to outline more support for business during COVID health restrictions
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is to speak this morning on providing more support to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenney promised more aid last week after his government introduced a new round of restrictions to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity and restaurants can only offer takeout or curbside service, although patios remain open.
The Opposition NDP says Kenney’s government has failed for a year to properly manage economic supports, saying the money is always too little, too late.
Kenney faces opposition from some quarters — even within his own caucus — to ease up on public-health measures even as the province is recording more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.
He says restrictions on public gatherings need to be in place a bit longer until vaccination rates reach critical mass.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021
The Canadian Press
Positive COVID-19 tests at world men's curling championship deemed “false positives”
CALGARY — The four positive COVID-19 tests that interrupted the men’s world curling championship are considered “false positives” from potentially contaminated samples, according to the World Curling Federation.
The men’s championship concluded late Sunday night with Sweden’s Niklas Edin winning a record fifth world men’s title.
No games were played Saturday because four participants, including one from a playoff team, tested positive for the virus in “exit” tests before leaving Calgary’s curling bubble.
None had symptoms of the illness.
All have tested negative in multiple re-tests since then, the WCF said Monday in a statement. All tests were conducted via PCR throat swabs.
“According to Alberta Health, PCR testing remains the gold standard for COVID-19 testing,” the WCF said. “Very rarely, there are occurrences through sampling or testing processes when samples may become contaminated and a false positive may result.
“Following an investigation over the weekend, it appears that this may have occurred in this case and follow-up testing was undertaken.”
All athletes and personnel considered close contacts of the four underwent testing Saturday with all results negative.
Every playoff team member was tested before and after each game Sunday with those results also negative, the WCF said. Hotel staff were also tested Sunday and cleared.
“With the original four positive test results now deemed as false positives, the integrity of the Calgary bubble remains intact,” the WCF declared.
“The change also allows international athletes who were considered close contacts, and who would have had to remain in isolation in Calgary for 14 days, will now be able to depart Calgary.”
The fifth of seven events in Calgary’s curling hub, the Humpty’s Champions Cup, gets underway Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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