Loading articles...

Alberta to make final decision on COVID-19 relaunch hours before Thursday target

Last Updated May 13, 2020 at 6:14 am MDT

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — No decision has been made yet on Alberta’s COVID-19 relaunch plan, which is tentatively set to take place Thursday of this week.

A decision is expected to come down Wednesday, hours before businesses plan to reopen, as the Emergency Management Cabinet Committee discusses the latest COVID-19 figures Tuesday evening.

“I ask that businesses, and patrons of businesses, be patient because we do need to make sure that we have the most up to date information,” Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said at Tuesday’s daily briefing.

Several factors are considered in moving forward with the first phase of reopening. Hospitalization rates must be stable, the number of patients in intensive care units must be less than 50 per cent of capacity, and Alberta must not see a sharp increase in infections.

As of Tuesday, 73 people are in hospital, 12 of those in intensive care units.

Hinshaw explained there is no perfect way to relaunch but when looking at options, the public must remain safe.

“Certainly, if we take a regional approach, there’s the risk that we could further spread transmission if people from an area that’s closed travel outside that area to get services elsewhere. But of course, there is also the risk of spread with opening things up,” she said.

Alberta is closely monitoring countries around the world who have already eased restrictions resulting in different experiences.

“Some countries such as Austria have moved into reopening with very little spread of the virus, other countries such as Germany have seen an acceleration of spread,” Hinshaw said.

“At the point that the reopening starts, we’ll be watching very, very closely to monitor any potential uptick in cases.”