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Policing cohorts proving difficult as outbreaks emerge at Calgary restaurants

Last Updated Mar 26, 2021 at 6:38 pm MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Outbreaks in Calgary restaurants are growing by the day, with several cases of variants, but is it up to the government to keep them safe?

“If we don’t stick to those guidelines and we continue to see viral transmission in restaurants we may force the government to make a decision that will be unpopular,” said infectious disease expert, Dr. Craig Jenne.

Joey Eau Claire was declared in outbreak status on Mar. 13.

As of Friday, there are 37 cases linked to the restaurant, with 23 of those being variants of concern. The location now seeing transmission happening not only in staff but guests as well.

RELATED: Concerns over outbreak declared at Calgary restaurant

Dr. Deena Hinshaw pointed out at the beginning of the week of specific examples of one patron going to multiple restaurants in a day and leading to multiple transmission events in those different restaurants.

Jenne says we’re learning more about this now, because back in the fall – contact tracers were overwhelmed.

“So we are basically seeing anyone in those environments that may not be wearing a mask is at risk of not only catching it but if they have the virus and are not aware they are transmitting it to others around them,” said Dr. Jenne.

Restaurants are expected to do contact tracing, but there are concerns Joey Eau Claire is not keeping up.

One google review for the restaurant from a customer whose family dined there on Mar. 13, and tested positive for variant cases of COVID-19, say there was no contact tracing done.

Earl’s on 4 Street SW, in Mission, is also in outbreak status, according to Alberta Health Services (AHS).

There are 7 active cases at the location with 6 of those being variants of concern – while Via Cibo on 14 Street and 15 Avenue SW also recently experiencing an outbreak, with 8 cases linked to the restaurant, all are recovered now.

Jenne says restaurants can stay open if we attend them safely and follow health guidelines.

“I think we have seen instances where we are not sticking to single cohorts at a table and that can be at times difficult for a restaurant to police.”