EDMONTON -- Alberta's health minister says the province will let its state of public health emergency, imposed March 15, expire as the COVID-19 infection rate falls.

Tyler Shandro called it "an important day for our province" as he announced the order would be lifted.

"The state of emergency is no longer needed to protect Albertans," he said.

"I know these past few months have been challenging for all Albertans: families and communities. We faced an enormous test and our province passed with flying colours."


Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, confirmed 20 new cases of the coronavirus and one more death Monday.

Active cases increased by 18, up to 440, with 31 patients in hospital, including seven in ICUs.

Edmonton's active cases continue to close in on Calgary's, with 170 and 194, respectively.

"The reality is, the more you test the more cases you're likely to find," Hinshaw said.

"As Albertans go out more, while our collective effort can and will reduce the spread of infection, we can also expect to see some increase in cases around Alberta."

When asked about a possible second wave, Hinshaw said "it's very likely" Alberta will see one.

"We have to make sure we're being cautious and each one of us taking pride in the ability to protect each other is what's going to help keep any kind of a second wave very low and manageable and try to spread it out as much as possible so we don’t have a high peak."

Despite that, the chief medical officer of health maintained Alberta's health system is prepared to battle to the virus as rate of hospitalizations and ICU admissions remain low.

Hinshaw says two thirds of Edmonton's active case count is connected to close contacts or outbreaks, while one third remain under investigation.

"We are not seeing patterns of spread, at this point, linked to casual contact or public places."

Alberta has had a total of 7,453 cases and 151 since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the province in March.