Dr Chris Sikora, Alberta Health Services chief medical officer for the Edmonton area, answered questions from counselors regarding Edmonton’s rates and the effectiveness of the masks.
Laughlin pointed out that the risk of infection and the number of active cases have increased over the past two weeks in Edmonton. The city was put on the province’s watchlist last Friday, he added.
“Our infection rate per 100,000 population is 54.5,” Laughlin said.
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There are currently 17 outbreaks, including in long-term care facilities, a church, commercial and industrial businesses, and private gatherings.
“The epidemics associated with the spread of the community are worrying,” he said.
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The administration is working with Alberta Health to understand why local rates are increasing and whether additional health measures or rule changes are needed.
“It’s clear from the data that people haven’t completely adapted their social behavior to have safe interactions,” Laughlin said.
5-level action plan
The city has crafted a five-level process that will dictate some actions and potential closures if the COVID-19 risk increases.
Currently the city is Level 1 or “Limited Risk”. The actions associated with this level are education, health and safety measures and compliance.
Level 2 is “prudence”. Actions associated with this level include restrictions / closures of city-owned facilities and amending the return-to-work plan for City of Edmonton staff.
If Edmonton reaches Level 3 (“restriction”), the administration could consider a legislative restriction on public spaces – indoor and outdoor – in transit, shopping and retail.
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While the administration puts plans in place for a large-scale or second wave outbreak, it plans immediate, short-term and long-term actions.
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Since Edmonton was placed under Alberta Health’s “watch” status, the city has increased law enforcement patrols, collected compliance rates, explored additional cleaning practices, increased meeting frequency emergency and foresee possible closures of facilities, if necessary.
“We hope we never need to increase the level of risk,” Laughlin said, “but the city is ready if the situation changes. “
At the end of the meeting, the mayor challenged the people of Edmonton who are frustrated and tired that in order to get through this together and get the virus under control in the city, everyone must follow the health and safety measures. made. by health officials.
He said things like physical distancing, keeping gatherings small, wearing masks and following good hand hygiene are “as critical as they were in March.”
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Iveson said Edmontonians must work together to hold each other accountable for these actions.
“I see it escaping. We need to breathe deeply as a city, as a community and be there for each other again… and listen to the experts – whatever worked at the start of this pandemic.
Face Mask Regulation
The latest figures show Edmonton’s overall face-to-face bylaw compliance is 96%.
Respect for wearing a mask in community and recreational centers is 98.1%, in public transport, 95%, in public spaces, 97% and 86% in rental cars.
Laughlin said the city has been hearing more and more complaints about people not wearing adequate masks and people being refused service for not wearing face masks.
Dr Sikora was encouraged by the acceptance of this new behavior which shows that “Edmontonians care for each other”.
However, he said it was truly “too early to tell” how effective Edmonton’s face mask rule was a month later.
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Exemption card covering the face
After ending its face mask exemption card program after just five days, the city continues to reexamine the issue of giving people medically unable to wear a face covering a way to display and explain this.
City staff are working with stakeholders and community groups on the re-evaluation of this program. The city is considering options to add more rigor / assurance to the approval process.
Dr Sikora said exemption cards are difficult to implement.
City of Edmonton ends distribution of mask exemption cards just 5 days after launch
In his presentation, Laughlin said the camp near ReMax Field currently has around 170 tents on site, some of which are vacant.
He said the city was working with the Homeward Trust, Boyle Street and Bissel Center on site, finding solutions and essential infrastructure such as showers.
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The aim is to ensure a transition to permanent housing solutions.
“I’m out of breath”, Coun. Scott McKeen said.
He said the time is up to talk about helping the homeless and “we have to do something now”.
“It’s a disaster within a pandemic within a crisis,” McKeen said.
“I feel the same,” Iveson said. “We have been methodically trying for a decade to meet people’s needs” with dignity, using a data-driven approach “which we believe will save money”.
So far, there has not been enough support for a “Housing First” plan from federal or provincial counterparts, Iveson said.
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Iveson and Laughlin are scheduled to speak to the media after Thursday afternoon’s Emergency Advisory Committee meeting.
Last week, the mayor expressed concern about the upward trend in active cases of COVID-19 in Edmonton.
“I am concerned as a mayor. It’s disappointing because our performance has been so good so far. I think maybe a false sense of security has developed… It is, as Dr. Hinshaw said, a serious wake-up call to Edmontonians.
Alberta confirmed 108 more cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with a total of 1,158 active cases in the province and the majority still in the Edmonton area. This area has 589 active cases while 375 active cases have been reported in the Calgary area.
As of Thursday, there were 49 people in the hospital, including seven in the ICU.
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