Alberta’s public-health measures that were set to expire on Monday will remain in place for another six weeks, the province has said.
On Friday morning Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced rules such as mandatory isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 will continue until Sept. 27.
"The last time I stood in front of you I shared with you the plan to shift toward a more sustainable approach to COVID-19, where we could use an enhanced version of the public-health systems that manage other respiratory viruses to also manage COVID," Hinshaw said.
"At that time, I promised you that we would closely monitor COVID-19 for a two-week period, and adapt as needed before the remaining changes came into effect on Aug. 16.”
Hinshaw said that when the Sept. 27 date approaches, the province will only proceed with lifting the restrictions if it is safe to do so as Alberta continues to monitor the Delta variant.
“Reviewing data from Alberta and across the globe in the past few weeks has led me to a point where I feel that a pause on the next changes is the best way forward. I deeply care about, and am committed to, the overall health of all in Alberta,” she said.
For Albertans riding on public transit, taxis, or using ride sharing, mask mandates will stay in place. Albertans with symptoms will be able to get tested at testing centres and those who test positive will still be required to isolate for 10 days. Hinshaw had previously called the 10-day isolation period an extreme measure.
Hinshaw and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney have previously said there is a low risk to children who get COVID-19, although she said there has been a rise in hospitalizations in some U.S. states with lower vaccination rates.
“I want to further monitor these trends,” Hinshaw said.
“I do not share this information to cause alarm. To date, we have not seen a similar rise in severe cases in youth here in Alberta. Since July 1, we have only had seven cases in hospital under the age of 18.”
Alberta currently has the highest active COVID-19 cases in Canada.