“COVID-19 is surging once again in Alberta.”
That from Premier Jason Kenney Friday as he held his first press conference in a month.
He says there is a concerning rise in hospitalizations made up of almost entirely unvaccinated Albertans. The ICU situation is worse, he says, with a 93 per cent jump in admissions in the past eight days.
In an attempt to address this fourth wave surge, Kenney announced new temporary COVID-19 measures set to take effect at 8 a.m. Saturday, September 4th.
- The province will make masks mandatory for all indoor public spaces and workplaces starting September 4th at 8 a.m. Schools are not required to implement masking but school boards will continue to set COVID-19 management policies as they deem appropriate.
- Also, as of September 4th at 8 a.m., restaurants, cafés, bars, pubs, nightclubs and other licensed establishments will be required to end alcohol service at 10 p.m.
- In addition, Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person contacts. To support this, the province strongly recommends that unvaccinated Albertans limit their indoor social gatherings to close contacts of only two cohort families up to a maximum of 10 people.
- It is also recommended that employers pause their plans to have staff return to work and instead continue with work-from-home measures. If employees are working on location, employees must mask for all indoor settings, except in work stations or where two-metre physical distancing or adequate physical barriers are in place.
The premier also announced that Alberta will be the first province to offer a one-time incentive of a $100 gift card for all Albertans 18 and older who receive a first or second dose of vaccine between September 3rd and October 14th.
Kenney says one out of every five Alberta adults are not fully vaccinated and “their choices are now jeopardizing our healthcare system.”
Alberta Health Services announced Friday it is postponing scheduled surgeries and procedures across all zones, saying, “the rise in COVID-19 cases in the community and the resulting demand on hospital resources means AHS must take further immediate steps to create additional ICU capacity.”
In the North zone, surgical postponements of up to 60 per cent are expected next week. AHS says it will be maintaining urgent and emergent procedures, as well as prioritized cancer surgeries.