Alberta to drop remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including masks on public transit

Measures to protect patients in Alberta Health Services (AHS) and contracted health facilities including masking will remain in place

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Mandatory isolation and masking on public transit will cease to be the law of the land in Alberta late Tuesday.

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The province announced Monday afternoon that it would be moving to the third and final step in its pandemic restriction lifting plan at 11:59 pm June 14 as the rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to drop, from 20.7 per million population per day on April 26 to a weekly average of 6.6 per day per million population as of June 9.

PCR test positivity and wastewater surveillance also show a continuing trend of declining COVID-19 transmission, according to Minister of Health Jason Copping.

“We need to live with COVID-19 while accepting that it will continue to be present,” he said in a press release. “We’ll continue to work to keep Albertans safe by ensuring access to vaccines, antivirals and rapid tests, through ongoing COVID-19 surveillance, and by enhancing health-care system capacity.”

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The change includes lifting mandatory masking on public transit and ending mandatory isolation, in common with British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Isolation will remain recommended for those with symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test, the announcement read.

Measures to protect patients in Alberta Health Services (AHS) and contracted health facilities, including masking, will remain in place.

Orders issued by the chief medical officer of health in continuing care will be rescinded by June 30 “but some measures in continuing care settings will remain in place through standards and policy,” the release read. This includes maintaining practices like isolation of symptomatic residents, outbreak protocols and masking.

“Learning to live with COVID-19 does not mean forgetting about it,” CMOH Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. “As we bring COVID-19 management in line with other respiratory diseases, it will continue to be vital that we receive our primary vaccine series and any additional booster doses we are eligible for, and continue good habits, like washing our hands regularly and avoiding being around others if we feel sick.”

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