Alberta Premier @jkenney will join @CMOH_Alberta today at the province's #COVID19 briefing. Not a surprise as we expect currently unspecified new public-health restrictions to be announced.
While we wait to hear from Alberta, neighbouring Saskatchewan reports 111 new #COVID19 cases, says new public health measures TBA tomorrow.
And over in Quebec, @CBCMontreal reports Premier @francoislegault saying schools may have to close this winter, extending holiday break:…
While we wait for this to start, Covenant Health confirms Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton is diverting ambulances for critical-care patients, expected to remain in place 'til tomorrow. Statement below. @CBCEdmonton story by colleague @wallissnow shortly.
We begin the news conference. Watch live:…
Alberta Premier @jkenney begins by revealing he's staying in self-isolation for 14 days, 'til November 23rd, because he was in close contact with someone on Monday. He's still waiting for #COVID19 test results himself.
"Our current state is twice as high" as spring numbers, Kenney says. "It's almost certain that we have not yet seen the current peak," he says. 860 new cases i.d.-ed yesterday.
"Our rising community spread is putting our health care system under deep stress," Kenney says. Not just hospitals, but community care places.
@jkenney says # of community care has more than quadrupled, to more than 400.
"We are at a dangerous juncture in our province," Kenney says.
"COVID 19 is challenging us and we have to rise to this test," @jkenney says.
New measures, "temporary, time-limited," Kenney says. Collectively meant to reduce # of close contacts in weeks to come. Says some measures specifically limited from Nov. 13-27th.
1st measure: temp. stop to fitness, group fitness activities, in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Fort McMurray. "This two week pause" reflects we need a pause in any activity that can spread COVID-19.
Says it applies to all indoor group fitness sports. Does not include outdoor sports, or individual sports. Does not apply to university sports.
Also temp. stop on group performances: including group singing, dancing and theatre cohort groups...also in cities mentioned above (Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Fort McMurray).
Kenney says performance restriction does not apply to professional venues.
2nd measure: stop on liquor sales by 10 pm at bars, restaurants and pubs in all places under 'watch' designation. (50 or more active cases).
Kenney says similar measures in place in other provinces.
No mandatory restrictions on private parties yet. "We may have to consider enforcement action," Kenney says, stating that 40 per cent of community transmission cases can be traced back to private gatherings.
@jkenney launches into an anecdote about how someone probably caught #COVID19 at a private poker night then went to work and spread it.
There is, however, a mandatory 50-person limit at weddings and funerals. And any faith ceremonies: 1/3rd capacity.
"Covid is starting to win and we cannot let that happen," Kenney says.
Kenney says two-week push is the last time period to avoid more restrictions. "It'll take us all making sacrifices."
@shandro is up next to talk about health-care capacity.
Shandro explains non-essential surgeries postponed in Edmonton zone.
@CMOH_Alberta says she knows the measures will be challenging for many people. "I want to thank those business leaders," she says, who are being impacted.
"It really does rely on everyone, all of us, stepping up," @CMOH_Alberta says. "If that's not happening and the spread continues, we will have to be looking at other measures."
@jkenney says he's feeling fine, no covid related symptoms. Was tested earlier this afternoon and will publicize results when he gets them. Self-isolating for 14 days.
"We obviously are closely following the policies of other jurisdictions," @jkenney says. Adds generally speaking Alberta and BC have taken an approach more focused on personal responsibility/public education. Says results have been great through most of the last 9 mths.
See my colleague pointing out what I didn't have time to refer to because live-tweeting:
Kenney says "only circumstances" where he'd consider lockdown measures is if he saw "fundamental capacity" of health care system to cope.
@jkenney says 2,400 acute-care beds were set aside in hospitals in spring. Says there are 225 hospitalizations, a "relatively small fraction" of what Alberta can handle.
@CMOH_Alberta says schools are not major driver of community transmission, and a "significant social good." Collectively prioritized. "It would be one of the things that we'd want to preserve."
(I asked this in light of Quebec saying today it would perhaps be looking at school closures).
@kieranleavitt asks about supply lines/procurement for vaccines. @shandro says close cooperation w/ feds on that front.

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More from @CBCRaffy

31 Jul
We are in court for the sentencing hearing of Matt McKnight. He was found guilty of five counts of sex assault.
Background story here:…
Also follow my colleague @cbcjanjohnston , who has bee covering much of this case from the beginning.
For count 6--McKnight is sentenced to 3 years.
Read 33 tweets

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