Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given is urging residents to do everything they can to slow the spread of COVID-19, as the city continues to see active cases of the virus climb. As of October 19th, 57 active cases of COVID-19 were being reported in the municipality, up from 19 just two weeks ago.

Given says he doesn’t think that the community will eliminate COVID-19 in the city before a vaccine is developed, and believe it’s likely it will see more cases in the near term. He adds that the facial coverings bylaw remains something that can go into effect, and, at this point, it may only be a matter of time.

“I will not be surprised if the triggers within the temporary face-covering/mask bylaw are met over the course of the next couple of weeks, but I hope that they’re not,” Given says.

With triggers including a combined active caseload of 100 between the city and County of Grande Prairie, or Alberta Health Services adjusting the status of the municipality to “enhanced”, Given says he there is no benefit to looking backward and judging through the rearview mirror. He also notes there is no requirement for people to wait for a certain number of cases before they choose to wear a mask.

“I’m choosing to wear a mask far more often then I was in the past, and I’d encourage residents to do the same, and encourage them to do it of their own free will before there is any requirement to wear a mask.”

He says, at the moment, he is comfortable the city is taking all reasonable and proactive measures to ensure the safety of staff and to limit the potential for the spread of COVID-19 either among city staff or with a member of the public.

“Every member of the community, every business, and organization, like the city, needs to take every proactive step and measure they can to ensure we’re doing what we can to limit and slow the spread,” he says.

The City of Grande Prairie is currently under a provincial “watch” status, which has the province monitoring the risk and discussing with local community leaders the possible need for additional health measures.