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State of public health emergency ends for Alberta

Last Updated Jun 15, 2020 at 4:55 pm MDT

Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announcing the ending of the state of public health emergency in Alberta on June 15, 2020. (Photo taken from CityNews livestream)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – The state of public health emergency has ended for the province of Alberta.

Minister of Health Tyler Shandro made the announcement during Monday’s provincial update.

“Today is an important day for our province. Today I am pleased to announce that the state of public health emergency will lapse in Alberta.”

Shandro says Alberta has come along way from when the state of emergency was originally declared in the province.

A state of public health emergency was declared in Alberta on March 17.

“I know that these past few months have been challenging for all Albertans, families, and communities.”

He adds the province faced a massive test, but that we “passed with flying colours.”

“We took it seriously, and we did the right thing,” said Shandro.

WATCH: Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announces the end of the state of public health emergency for Alberta

“As Minister of Health, I am thankful to have had Dr. Hinshaw with us to help guide us through these extraordinary times.”

He says declaring a public health emergency gave the province the tools they needed to respond to the pandemic properly and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Over the last three months, the public health emergency played a small but vital role in the province’s response.

For example, Shandro says it provided additional authority which helped AHS support long term care facilities.

“And it provided authority to health inspectors for them to enter any area of an airport to ensure compliance with public health measures such as cleaning and physical distancing.”

As the province entered Stage 2 of the provincial relaunch, Shandro says the public health emergency is no longer needed.

RELATED: Alberta enters the next stage of its relaunch plan

“I want to be clear, while the state of emergency is lapsing, it does not remove or impact the existing orders that Dr. Hinshaw has put in place. Nor does it impact our ability to issue additional orders as they may be needed in the days ahead.”

Even though the health emergency has ended as of Monday, Shandro adds COVID-19 is still with us.

“We will introduce legislation later this week to ensure that we have the power to respond to the pandemic as it’s needed.”

Following the announcement, more than 9 million face masks have been given out to Albertans from drive-thru restaurants in just one week.

On top of that, another 2.4 million masks have been shipped to 44 municipalities, 46 First Nations, seven Metis settlements, 1,106 senior organizations, 107 shelters, and 75 addiction treatment centers.

Masks are free of charge across the province and can be pick up at any McDonalds, Tim Horton’s, or A&W drive-thru.

Alberta remains the only province to give out non-medical masks to residents.