- Decisions about what constitutes “safe” indoor fitness activities will be left to gym owners and their clients, Alberta’s health minister said Tuesday, a day after the province announced that gyms and fitness centres would be allowed to reopen for “low-intensity” activities in the move to Step 2 of the plan to lift COVID-19 public health restrictions.
- Health Minister Tyler Shandro clarified Tuesday that “low-intensity” individual and group fitness activities are those that don’t significantly raise a person’s breathing rate, such as low-intensity yoga, Pilates and tai-chi, as well as the low-intensity use of treadmills, ellipticals and related equipment. People must still follow public health rules like maintaining a physical distance of three metres between participants and wearing masks.
- All indoor fitness must be pre-registered — no drop-ins allowed.
- Libraries will now be able to open to 15 per cent of fire code capacity, under the limited easing of restrictions announced Monday by Shandro, Premier Jason Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
- However, the province said it would decide on March 22 whether to ease restrictions further at that point on retail businesses, hotels, banquet halls and children’s sports.
- Hinshaw will deliver her next update on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. CBC News will cover it live on the website and Facebook.
- Alberta reported 257 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a slight dip from 291 on Monday and 301 on Sunday.
- There are 4,631 active cases across the province as well as two more deaths.
- As of Tuesday, there were 261 people being treated in hospital for COVID-19, an increase of four from the day before, with 54 people in intensive care beds.
- 5,864 coronavirus tests were completed with a positivity rate of 4.5 per cent.
- Thirty-five additional variant cases were recorded on Tuesday, bringing the total to 492. Of those variant cases, almost all — 484 — are the strain first identified in the U.K. and eight are the strain first identified in South Africa.
- Alberta’s R-value has decreased slightly to 1.01, from 1.03, but it still means that more than one person on average contracts COVID-19 from each positive case. An R-value above 1.0 indicates exponential growth. Outside of Calgary and Edmonton, the R-value fell from 1.13 to 0.94.
- The union representing workers at a Red Deer slaughterhouse is calling for its potential reopening this week to be delayed, saying in an open letter that employees do not feel safe after a deadly outbreak of COVID-19.
- Alberta Health Services (AHS) declared an outbreak at the Olymel Red Deer Food Processing Plant on Nov. 17, and by the end of February it had been linked to at least 500 cases and three reported deaths.
- Alberta may follow British Columbia’s lead and lengthen the time between administering first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Tuesday.
- Emerging evidence from the United Kingdom, B.C. and Quebec suggests the first dose of the two vaccines currently being distributed in Alberta can provide 90 per cent protection against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and that protection can last for months. Alberta health officials and physicians are now reviewing that new evidence and examining whether the province can further delay second shots.
- As of March 1, the province’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout has resulted in 245,054 doses of vaccine being administered. That number includes 88,539 Albertans who are fully immunized with two doses of vaccine.
- Kenney said Monday that cases in the province’s long-term care homes have plummeted by 95 per cent after vaccinations.
- On Feb. 19, the vaccination program expanded to all residents in retirement centres, lodges and other supportive and congregate living facilities with residents aged 75 or older.
- Last Wednesday, it expanded to include all Albertans born in 1946 and earlier — about 230,000 more people.
- Vaccinations also became available for all First Nations, Inuit, Métis and persons 65 years of age and over living in a First Nations community or Métis Settlement.in the province.
- Vaccinations for those 75 and older (born in 1946 or earlier) are available at 102 community pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer as well as at the AHS sites. A list of participating pharmacies is available on the Alberta Blue Cross website.
- Family doctors and their clinical staff will be included in Phase 2 of Alberta’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. That’s expected to take place between April and September.
See which regions are being hit hardest
Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as of Tuesday:
- Calgary zone: 1,560, down from 1,562 (49,155 recovered).
- Edmonton zone: 1,030, up from 1,014 (51,882 recovered).
- North zone: 1,061, down from 1,084 (10,794 recovered).
- South zone: 333, up from 328 (6,135 recovered).
- Central zone: 636, down from 672 (9,471 recovered).
- Unknown: 11, down from 14 (94 recovered).
Find out which neighbourhoods or communities have the most cases, how hard people of different ages have been hit, the ages of people in hospital, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more in: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean
You can see active cases by local health area on the following interactive map. Scroll, zoom and click on the map for more information.
Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 stories:
Decisions about what constitutes “safe” indoor fitness activities will be left to gym owners and their clients, Alberta’s health minister says.
Under Step 2 of the province’s relaunch plan, announced on Monday, gyms and fitness centres were allowed to reopen for “low-intensity” activities.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Tuesday there was some confusion about which activities would be allowed, and he tried to clear that up.
“If you operate a gym, you can be open,” he said. “That is perfectly within the rules.”
Shandro said “low-intensity” activities are those that don’t significantly raise a person’s breathing rate, and said gyms and clients will be allowed to make such decisions for themselves.
“We’re relying on owners and clients to use judgment, to show good faith,” Shandro said at a news conference.
Alberta reported two more deaths and 257 news cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Alberta may follow British Columbia’s lead and lengthen the time between administering first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Health Minister Tyler Shandro says.
Emerging evidence from the United Kingdom, B.C., and Quebec suggests the first dose of the two vaccines currently being distributed in Alberta can provide 90-per-cent protection against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and that protection can last for months.
Alberta health officials and physicians are now reviewing that new evidence and examining whether the province can further delay second shots, Shandro said at a Tuesday news conference.
“It’s going to give us an opportunity to get more people vaccinated more quickly, which is going to be fantastic news for Albertans,” he said.
Manufacturers’ instructions say the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses should be given 21 days apart and Moderna doses should be 28 days apart.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization said prolonging the wait to 42 days is acceptable in places where there’s high community transmission, strain on the health-care system and limited vaccine supply. Vaccine shipments to Canada were significantly delayed in February.
The union representing workers at a Red Deer slaughterhouse is calling for its potential reopening this week to be delayed, saying in an open letter that employees do not feel safe after a deadly outbreak of COVID-19.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) declared an outbreak at the Olymel Red Deer Food Processing Plant on Nov. 17, and by the end of February it had been linked to at least 500 cases and three reported deaths.
The plant temporarily closed more than two weeks ago, and nearly three weeks after the first death related to the outbreak — Darwin Doloque, a 35-year-old permanent resident who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. A few weeks later, Henry De Leon, 50, died, followed by a third woman in her 60s.
In a letter obtained by CBC News, plant manager Rob Ackerblade informed employees on Feb. 28 that if a March 1 inspection by AHS and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) should be successful, gradual reopening dates for the Olymel plant could be March 3 for the slaughterhouse and March 4 for the cutting room.
“The purpose of this memo is to inform you of a potential upcoming and gradual reopening of the facility subject to the recommendation of the health authorities [AHS],” Ackerblade said.
However, Olymel spokesperson Richard Vigneault told Radio-Canada that there is no set date to reopen the plant, as the company is still waiting for a green light from AHS.
He said some training will get underway Wednesday for employees regarding the reopening plan and the measures that will be in place.
Some business owners and stakeholders are expressing confusion and disappointment after the Alberta government announced that Stage 2 of its reopening plan would start with a scaled-back approach to easing restrictions.
Initially Stage 2 included the potential reopening of facilities that included banquet halls, community halls and conference centres, and the further reopening of fitness facilities.
Instead, it will now begin with libraries reopening at 15 per cent of fire code capacity. Low-intensity individual and group fitness activities, such as light strength training, Pilates and tai-chi, are also now permitted at gyms.
But high-intensity workouts including spinning and CrossFit currently remain prohibited, and restrictions on hotels, community and banquet halls, and conference centres will continue until Stage 3 — “at least” three weeks away, Shandro said Monday.
“To be honest, my heart stopped a bit [when I heard the announcement],” said Christine Dairon, the marketing director for the Delta by Marriott Calgary South.
- For the latest on what’s happening in the rest of Canada and around the world, see here.
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