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Stage One of Alberta economic relaunch could begin as soon as Thursday

Province confirms 45 new cases of COVID-19, one more death
Dr. Deena Hinshaw May 12
Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw provides a COVID-19 update on Tuesday, May 12. PHOTO: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

The province is in the final stages of preparing to give the go-ahead to begin the Alberta Phage One of the Alberta Economic Relaunch Strategy.

During a press briefing Tuesday (April 12) Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported that workplace guidance documents were shared with all workplaces in the province on Monday.

“All of us are looking towards these next few weeks with optimism and concern about what’s in store as we begin to open up,” Hinshaw said. “We have arrived where we are today because of Albertans’ commitment and discipline making sure were following public health guidance and protecting each other.”

Hinshaw said Alberta’s Emergency Management Cabinet Committee will be meeting Tuesday evening to make a final decision about moving forward to Phase One of the economic relaunch.

An announcement on the fate of Phase One of the economic relaunch will be released on Wednesday, and business reopenings could begin as early as Thursday (May 14).

Triggers have been put in place to help guide the relaunch strategy, Hinshaw said, explaining that COVID-19 hospitalization rates must remain stable or not increase by more than five percent and intensive care unit occupancy in the province needs to be less than 50 per cent of available beds. Other data that will inform the rolling out of the economic relaunch will include stability in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the province and watching for significantly large outbreaks of concern. 

The data will inform the increase or reduction of public health measures.

As of Tuesday, there are 73 people in the hospital due to COVID-19, 12 of whom have been admitted to intensive care units.

The province has completed 3,173 lab tests in the last 24-hours, confirming 45 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. There are 1,362 active cases in the province.

There has been an additional death bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 118. A total of 4,866 people have recovered from the virus.

The guidance documents provided to business will be used to clearly state the expectation of workplaces that choose to open in Phase One of Alberta’s Economic Relaunch, with the safety of Albertans front and centre. Hinshaw explained that these documents have been used to guide essential services that have remained opened during the pandemic and have been updated with new information for businesses that will be applicable in all settings.

Hinshaw noted that business will be able to work through the guidelines and decide how health measures will apply in their specific setting. She added more specific guidelines are being drafted and prepared for the unique needs of specific sectors.

Mechanisms will be put in place to ensure patrons know what is expected in terms of following public health measures during the relaunch, Hinshaw said, and businesses will be expected to ensure employees are not at work if they are feeling ill.

“I ask that you stay the course and continue to practice physical distancing, hand washing and other measures in order to make our relaunch successful,” Hinshaw said. “Customers and business operators are both responsible for being safe and using common sense.”

Businesses with specific questions in regards to reopening can email [email protected] for more information.

“Once we re-open we want to stay open and we want businesses to be successful and Albertans to stay safe,” Hinshaw said. “There really is no one perfect way to do the relaunch. What we need to do is balance the needs of Albertans, the safety of all Albertans being paramount, and looking at these options and how we can find the best one that helps us all go forward in a safe way."

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