How We Got Here: A Timeline of Alberta’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney declared a public health state of emergency and announced a wide range of new measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports and far-reaching public health restrictions.

The announcement, which comes as Alberta battles a deadly fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has threatened to overwhelm hospitals in the province, marks a major shift for Kenney’s United Conservative Party, which for months had resisted. new restrictions and rejected the idea. of vaccination mandates.

All that changed on Wednesday, just hours after Alberta Health Services reported that 24 people had died from the virus in a single day. The new measures are the culmination of a tumultuous few months since Kenney declared the province “open for the summer” on July 1.

Here’s a look at how the Alberta government has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic since its arrival in March last year.

March 17, 2020

Prime Minister Jason Kenney declares a state of public health emergency to combat the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Various social distancing rules and restrictions are introduced, including a ban on organized gatherings of more than 50 people.

March 27, 2020

As the number of cases in the province surpasses 500, Kenney introduces more restrictions, limiting indoor and outdoor events to 15 people. Some non-essential businesses are closed.

April 20, 2020

As the first wave continues to grow, Cargill’s meat processing plant in High River, Alta., Temporarily closes after the operation is linked to more than 350 COVID-19 cases.

Medical Director of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw delivers a COVID-19 update in Edmonton on September 3.

Spring / Summer 2020

Although some restrictions are lifted after the peak of the first wave on April 30, all meetings and mass events are canceled for the remainder of the spring and summer. The Calgary Stampede is canceled for the first time in a century.

August 21, 2020

Teachers, parents and students from all over the province hold demonstrations to protest against the UCP’s school re-entry plan, which did not include funds to reduce class sizes. Concerns are also rising over issues such as ventilation, sanitation and staffing.

September 1, 2020

Kenney says his government has accepted that COVID-19 infections in schools are inevitable and do not justify closing all classrooms: “It’s time to get back to normal.”

November 2020

New restrictions are introduced, including limits on indoor and outdoor meetings, as the second wave rolls in. Grades 7-12 transition to online learning.

December 2020

As of December, more than 1,000 Alberta schools reported at least one case of the virus, including more than 300 where intra-school transmission was suspected, the Calgary Herald Reports.

December 8, 2020

Kenney introduces strict lockdown measures to combat the fast-growing second wave. The shutdown includes a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings, the shutdown of nonessential businesses, and mandatory mask mandates. As of mid-December, Alberta has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country.

Hospitalizations in Alberta during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

January to March 2021

As cases slowly decline from a peak in mid-December, the Alberta government introduces a step-by-step framework to ease restrictions that depend on hospitalization rates.

April 6, 2021

Citing widespread rule-breaking and new variants of COVID-19, Kenney announces that Alberta is in a third wave of the pandemic, with the province averaging 1,000 new cases each day. The government announces that it will return to “Step 1” of its reopening framework, introducing new restrictions on restaurants, gyms and other non-essential businesses.

April 7, 2021

Fifteen UCP MLAs publish a public letter criticizing the new measures, despite Alberta having the highest number of cases and some of the loosest public health restrictions in the country.

May 4, 2021

After months of resisting the kind of stay-at-home orders seen in Ontario, Kenney reverses the tide with a series of new pandemic restrictions. This includes online learning for students, closing indoor meals, and new meeting limits.

Mid May 2021

Alberta makes national headlines as its case rate rises to one of the highest in North America. The third wave “was unrivaled in Canada, and was fueled by what experts argue is a miasma of mediocre politics, a lack of political will to alienate the province’s libertarian fringes, and reliance on a declining oil industry that struggled even before the pandemic, “wrote the Star’s. Alex Boyd and Omar Mosleh.

May 26, 2021

The Alberta government announces a new reopening plan, which replaces the “Path Forward” framework with a plan aimed at making the province “open for the summer.” Linked to both vaccination rates and hospitalizations, the plan aims to remove all restrictions by July.

July 1, 2021

Alberta becomes the first Canadian jurisdiction to remove all restrictions after reaching the government’s goal of administering a first dose to 70 percent of the eligible population. “Don’t live in fear,” Kenney told Albertans, before promising them “the best summer ever.”

July 9, 2021

The Calgary Stampede is back, marking the first major event in Canada since the start of the pandemic. Kenney, who was seen tossing pancakes at a traditional Stampede breakfast, tells reporters that Alberta will not have a passport for vaccinations.

Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney speaks at the Prime Minister's annual Stampede Breakfast in Calgary, Alta, on July 12.

July 28, 2021

Despite rising cases and a vaccination rate that lags behind other parts of the country, Alberta Medical Director of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announces that masks will no longer be required by August 16 in taxis or in transit in Alberta; that children will not be required to wear masks in schools; and that there will no longer be a legally required isolation period if someone tests positive for COVID-19.

August 9, 2021

As concerns mount about the highly infectious Delta variant, the Alberta Medical Association’s pediatrics section is sending a letter to Kenney expressing grave concern about Alberta’s decision to eliminate COVID-19 testing and tracing, and his plan to end mandatory isolation for positive cases.

August 13, 2021

After weeks of pressure, the Alberta government backs down and extends the remaining public health restrictions for an additional six weeks. “We are not going to back down. We are pausing to monitor and evaluate before taking a step forward, ”Hinshaw said.

End of August 2021

Doctors are raising the alarm as Alberta’s fourth wave continues to grow. At the end of August, the province had about 34 percent of all active cases in Canada, with only 11 percent of the country’s population.

David Williamson travels with a Recall Kenney sign during a protest in support of the COVID-19 health orders, calling on the province to reinstate restrictions such as mandatory isolation in Edmonton on August 4.

September 1, 2021

Kenney addresses Albertans for the first time since August 9, after a model by a team of independent pandemic researchers suggests that a health crisis is inevitable unless strong action is taken. It is later confirmed that Kenney took a two-week vacation in Europe in late August.

September 3, 2021

Kenney is offering $ 100 gift cards to unvaccinated Albertans to try to stem the fourth wave. “For the love of God, get vaccinated now,” Kenney told the media. “If you are not vaccinated, it is urgent that you protect yourself.”

Early September

Alberta Health Services announces that it will postpone elective surgeries and outpatient procedures in an effort to create “sufficient ICU and inpatient capacity.” By September 13, access to surgery decreased by as much as 70 percent in the Edmonton area.

September 7, 2021

Twelve Alberta mayors are calling for Kenney to incorporate COVID-19 vaccine passport rules across the province.

September 13, 2021

Hinshaw admits that lifting all public health restrictions in July was the wrong move. “Expectations did not match reality,” he said.

The number of cases (last 7 days) of COVID-19 in Canada.

September 15, 2021

Kenney declares a state of public health emergency and introduces a number of new measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports and extensive public health restrictions.

Kenney defends his decision to lift restrictions for the summer, but says he regrets being “too enthusiastic” that the province would be open forever and for underestimating the virus.

Kenney also announces a number of new measures regarding social distancing recommended by provincial health authorities, including a ban on any organized gathering of more than 50 people.

Despite promising for weeks that the province would not, Kenney told the press conference that a vaccine passport system will be implemented for some businesses beginning Sept. 20. These include restaurants, some events, and non-essential businesses.

Eligible businesses and events that agree to require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test will be exempt from other public health restrictions that will be introduced on September 20.

September 16, 2021

At least eight postsecondary schools in Alberta temporarily cancel face-to-face classes as they work to adjust to a new range of provincial COVID-19 health restrictions.

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