Thank you, Premier. Good afternoon.
I will begin today’s remarks with my regular update about cases, and then speak further to today’s relaunch announcement.
In total, there are now 5,076 people who have recovered from the virus, leaving 1,211 active cases in Alberta.
Currently, 70 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, with 11 of those admitted to ICUs.
In the last 24 hours, out of 4,072 new test results there were 62 new cases.
An outbreak has now been declared at the Horizon work camp operated by Canadian Natural Resources.
There have been 5 confirmed cases linked to the camp, and the operator is working closely with Alberta Health Services to limit the spread. We are announcing this outbreak today as it has met the threshold of 5 cases.
When there are 1 or 2 cases at a particular worksite that isn’t considered to be proof of transmission at that worksite, and therefore the public disclosure does wait until 5 cases where it does seem that there has been onsite transmission. And that is the reason we are speaking to this today.
Testing is being offered to all employees, including those without symptoms.
I am confident that the spread can be contained on this site as all measures are being taken to do this.
With respect to relaunch, I would like yo echo Premier in thanking Albertans’ for their commitment to protecting one another.
Thank you for the sacrifices that you have made… ones that only a few short weeks ago would have seemed unimaginable.
Make no mistakes there have been sacrifices.
Lives, lifestyles and livelihoods have all been impacted.
We have been physically distanced from those we love and care about… and I know how difficult it has been.
We’ve missed birthday gatherings, postponed weddings and celebrations of life.
And Albertans have responded to this unprecedented challenge with compassion and grace.
They’ve found ways to connect with each other, to help one another and to thank one other, with a particular focus on thanking those on the front lines.
I know the last few weeks and few months feel like we have travelled a long and arduous road together.
While our journey is far from over, I hope we can take a moment today to recognize what we have collectively achieved together.
We often think that one person’s actions can’t make a difference.
But by following public health guidance, practicing physical distancing washing our hands regularly and staying home when sick ….
Every single one of us has helped to save lives.
Albertans should feel incredibly proud for looking out for one another and helping us to collectively move forward with this relaunch.
As we move into Stage One, I know that many are experiencing mixed emotions – relief, excitement, anger, anxiety and fear.
But I want to assure you, that protecting Albertans’ health and well-being is at the forefront of every decision that is made.
We would not jeopardize all that you have risked and sacrificed by beginning to re-open prematurely.
I feel confident that it is the right time to move into Stage One.
That being said, Stage One allows businesses to open at the discretion of owners and operators.
There is no directive to say they must open on a particular day.
If an owner determines they need additional time to put appropriate measures in place to protect staff and patrons, I encourage Albertans to be supportive and not critical.
These are difficult decisions that are being made to protect you, and those around you.
As I’ve said before, once businesses reopen, we want Alberta to stay open – and we want businesses to be successful, and Albertans to stay safe.
We have produced both general guidance for all settings, and specific guidance for some sectors, to outline measures that keep infection from spreading.
We also are posting additional safety information, such as guidance that will be released today on how to flush water lines in buildings that have not been occupied for the past several months.
We continue to work on guidance for other sectors as we get requests, and more information will be released as available, and will be updated as any new evidence is identified.
My advice will continue to be driven by data.
Since before our first Alberta COVID case, the team of public health officials at both Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services has been closely monitoring and evaluating new cases, testing capacity, outbreaks, health care system capacity and severe outcomes.
This is not changing.
We are taking a measured and gradual approach.
If we need to provide government with advice to make community adjustments to the relaunch strategy, we will.
This is evident in the more gradual re-opening over 18 days that is planned for the cities of Calgary and Brooks.
In these municipalities we must recognize the higher number of cases we continue to see compared to the rest of the province.
I know this may be frustrating for some residents and businesses, but we ask you to be patient.
Your safety remains our top priority.
And we encourage those in Calgary and Brook to wait to access services in your communities on the upcoming opening dates, rather than travelling for services.
I also ask all Albertans to be compassionate and kind with each other.
We must avoid targeting individuals based on ethnicity or the city they live in as the slower reopening there is a population measure and not an indication that all individuals from these areas have been exposed.
If at any point we need to take a step back to protect the lives of Albertans in any region, we will make that recommendation.
We don’t want to go back.
This is why we need Albertans to continue to do their part.
It will take all of our efforts to continue to keep our infection rate low and prevent a surge in cases that would require us to consider restricting movement and businesses again.
As we begin to resume operations, our success will continue to be determined by the choices that each individual makes.
Be thoughtful and intentional in your outings…
Shop for what you need.
Continue to look out for one another, such as shopping for someone who is elderly or vulnerable due to a medical condition…
Take appropriate precautions, wash your hands, and continue physical distancing.
I encourage anyone who is not able to keep a physical distance of two metres in a public place, to wear a non-medical mask.
We will be posting guidelines today to give more information to Albertans who are looking for details on choosing and safely wearing non-medical masks, and I encourage all Albertans to have a look at this new guidance., Make sure that you are choosing masks wisely and wearing them safely.
I also want to remind you of the importance of staying home if you are sick, and taking the AHS online self-assessment to register for testing.
You can download the ABTraceTogether app to help AHS contact tracers, keeping yourself and others in the know if you have been exposed.
By continuing to work together, we can keep each other safe as we begin to go out.
Now is a safe time to relaunch.
Thank you. I will now take any questions.