Alberta surpasses 6,000 cases of COVID-19
EDMONTON -- The province-wide totals are now 6,017 cases — 3,809 recovered and 2,094 active — and 114 deaths.
- Infographics: COVID-19 in Alberta by the numbers
- This is what we know about Alberta's COVID-19 cases
- More at Edmonton.ctvnews.ca/coronavirus
Out of the active cases, 85 are in hospital, including 18 in ICU.
Alberta Health Services conducted 3,818 tests in the past 24 hours.
FROM 'STAY HOME' TO 'STAY SAFE'
The government's message to Albertans is beginning to shift as the province continues to slowly relaunch its economy amid the pandemic.
After months of telling Albertans to stay home, Dr. Deena Hinshaw wants Albertans to stay safe.
"We already know with the weather getting nicer, people have been and should be outside enjoying the nice weather, enjoying the outdoors," the chief medical officer of health said.
Last week, Alberta allowed provincial parks and golf courses to reopen, and on Monday, services such as non-urgent surgeries and dentistry resumed.
"I guess the message that we're sending people is there are some additional opportunities for people to get services, some additional opportunities for recreation," Hinshaw said. "It's OK to go out cautiously."
Hinshaw recommended people over 75 years of age and those with chronic medical conditions to remain "very cautious."
On May 14, barbershops and hair salons, daycares and restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen. However, some barbers and hair stylists have expressed concerns about being part of phase one of the relaunch, working with multiple clients and maintaining a safe physical distance.
"When considering that hair salons and barbershops could open as a part of stage one, a key point that factored into public health advice was that these professions have provincially-regulated training and certification standards," Hinshaw explained. "This certification includes a provincially-recognized public health component on infection prevention and control. This means that hairstylists and barbers already have some familiarity with protocols aimed at limiting customers’ risk of exposure to infections."
Hinshaw added that these services are not obligated to open on May 14, and that the province is working on guidance and additional risk-mitigation information that will be shared with the sector soon.
With these services reopening, Hinshaw said she's aware faith communities want to safely meet again and sympathizes with them, but shared a "cautionary tale" about large gatherings.
In mid-March in the Calgary Zone, before many COVID-19 measures were put in place, a religious group gathered for a worship service and had a social event after, the community's leader told Hinshaw.
The 41 people practiced physical distancing and good hand hygiene, a small group of people served food and drinks with gloves on and no one felt ill.
Within a week, Hinshaw says one of the attendees tested positive for the coronavirus, and eventually 24 of the 41 people fell ill. Three of them ended up in hospital, two died.
"What should have been a joyful event turned tragic," Hinshaw said. "I share this story as a cautionary tale and an example how informal gatherings, even when trying to follow distancing rules, can result in large spreading events.
Hinshaw's 'stay safe' message includes bringing what she's said all along into the relaunch: physical distancing, washing your hands and not touching your face, and staying home if you're feeling sick.
'STOP KICKING US WHILE WE'RE DOWN'
Premier Jason Kenney had strong words during Thursday's COVID-19 update for two federal politicians who took aim at Alberta's oil industry.
On Wednesday, Green Party of Canada Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May said "oil is dead," while Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said Canada's investments should focus on renewable energy instead.
"I just think it's deeply regrettable that we would see national political leaders piling on Alberta," Kenney began.
"And so I would say to Mr. Blanchet and Ms. May, please stop kicking us while we're down. We Albertans have been generous. And we will continue to be generous. But these attacks on our natural resource industries are unwarranted."
- 'Stop kicking us while we're down': Alberta premier has harsh words for politicians who say oil industry is dead
In response to Blanchet saying Albertans have been sending a string of insults to Quebec, Kenney said Alberta has been sending "energy that fuels the Quebec economy, and most recently, we also sent millions of masks, and even ventilators to help our fellow Canadian get through this."