Thank you, Tom. Good afternoon.
In total, there are now 4,866 people who have recovered from the virus in Alberta, leaving 1,361 active cases.
Currently, 73 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with 12 of those admitted to ICUs.
Based on 3,173 new test results over the last 24 hours, we have confirmed 45 new cases.
I’m sad to report that the total number of COVID deaths has increased by one to 118 deaths in Alberta.
I wish to extend my condolences to the friends and families of these individuals, as well as to all Albertans who have lost a loved one recently.
Outbreak case numbers
As of today, there are 105 active cases in outbreaks at continuing care facilities across the province.
559 residents of continuing care facilities have recovered.
At the Cargill facility, there are now 25 active cases in workers and 920 workers who have recovered.
There are also 44 active cases among workers at the JBS Plant in Brooks. At this facility, 582 have now recovered.
And at Harmony Beef, there are 12 active cases in workers and 28 individuals who have recovered.
I know when I provide these numbers, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what’s happening behind the scenes to combat the outbreaks and bring these numbers down.
I want to recognize the Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services teams who are working tirelessly on our response to these outbreaks and our COVID response in general.
Their efforts have been vital to our ability to prevent spread of this virus and address immediate concerns in outbreak situations.
Their work, and the work of many partners such as primary care and newcomer organizations, among many others, is wide-ranging, and incredibly important.
These teams are providing essential, on-the-ground public health guidance to operators and employers.
They’ve been testing anyone who may have been exposed…
…and have been working to ensure these groups feel supported and have the information they need to prevent spread, and stay safe.
Public health teams are also working with our data to ensure that we understand how cases are connected, where exposures of concern may be happening, and therefore what measures may be most effective in control of spread.
The team at Alberta Health is also working to provide analysis of the situation in Alberta and how we can learn from other jurisdictions as we plan our way forward.
They are responding to questions from the public and businesses about how to interpret public health guidance, and are working to incorporate this information into further guidance to inform the public.
I also want to recognize the many healthcare practitioners who are fighting the virus in other settings…
…in acute care , continuing care or congregate living facilities…
…or in family clinics where patients are still receiving regular health care.
Thank you for your dedication, compassion and efforts throughout these unprecedented times.
I want to remind everyone that family doctors are still providing care to patients, and want to encourage anyone who needs care to call their doctor’s office to arrange the best way to receive that care.
Most family doctors can do virtual visits by phone or other means, and can determine how to best get patients the care they need.
Workplace guidance and relaunch
Today I would like to provide a bit more information on the workplace guidance documents that were released yesterday.
As I have mentioned before, we have provided a very detailed guidance document that applies to all workplaces.
This guidance document was in place to provide expectations to all those places of work that have remained open throughout the past few months, and it has recently been updated with more information.
These guidelines are applicable to all settings, whether it is a shopping mall, retail business or a specific sector.
Businesses can work through these guidelines and make decisions about how to apply the guidance to their specific setting. This will look different for each environment.
In addition, we continue to draft more specific guidelines for certain sectors to reflect unique needs, such as those we have posted for child care facilities and bars and restaurants.
An important thing for ALL businesses to consider is what mechanisms they can put in place so patrons understand what is required of them.
Business operators know their business better than we can…and it’s a two-way street – customers and business operators are both responsible for being safe and using common sense.
In many settings it may be appropriate to post signs, reminding patrons not to enter if they are feeling ill…
…and to remind them to maintain 2 metres between themselves and other customers.
Business operators will also need to have a mechanism for checking to make sure their employees are well, and to ensure that their employees go home if they are ill and to seek testing if necessary.
If businesses have specific questions as they prepare for opening, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org for help with specifics that may not be answered through the website.
There is also a commonly asked question section that will be updated daily.
As we move into our relaunch, I encourage all Albertans to help reinforce these new social norms with each other.
Once we reopen, we want to stay open – and we want businesses to be successful, and Albertans to stay safe.
And I also want to encourage all of us to be kind to each other as we remind each other of these new social norms. This is a new world we are all navigating and being kind and compassionate will help us all.
Finally, I’d like to touch on the concept of cohorts, as I’ve seen this question pop up again on social media.
A while ago I mentioned how two families could form a cohort to help split child-minding activities and provide an opportunity for parents and children to socialize.
I know that people want to see family and friends, and to see them in a way that doesn’t keep them a hockey stick apart.
As we move into relaunch, it’s important to remember that limiting the number of people you come into close contact with is the best way to limit the possibility of spread.
Expanding your cohort to a very small group of people can work, but you need to follow all guidance and ensure that everyone is committed to only being a cohort with each other.
It is important that people still limit social contact with others outside of this cohort.
Social gatherings where people share food and drinks are a risk. Kids’ sleepovers with friends are a risk. These activities should only happen with a small cohort group.
I know all of us are looking towards these next few weeks with both optimism…and concern about what’s in store as we begin to open up.
We have arrived where we are today because of Albertans’ commitment and discipline making sure we’re following public health guidance and protecting each other.
I ask that you stay the course, and continue to practice physical distancing, hand washing and other measures in order to make our relaunch successful.
Thank you. I’d be happy to take questions.