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Alberta health minister confident in province's COVID-19 reopening; no vaccine plan yet

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Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro joined officials Thursday for the daily COVID-19 update.

Shandro took time to highlight improvements the province has made to COVID-19 contact tracing, saying “Albertans have shown that they can do what it takes to bend the curve, and that’s why I believe it’s safe move forward with our careful staged re-opening.”

Shandro faced numerous questions regarding the province’s lack of a vaccination plan past Stage 1B, only saying “I think premier has announced that we expected to be able to make that announcement fairly soon.”

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw began her update by addressing the situation surrounding the GraceLife Church near Edmonton.

Hinshaw said Alberta Health Services had been working with the church but that “these attempts to reach out and provide support and education were not successful in bringing the church into alignment with COVID-19 prevention requirements.”

“Enforcement activities then escalated to fines and subsequent orders from AHS that the church follow COVID-19 protocols to protect their community.

“Ultimately I understand RCMP decided to take the pastor into custody as a result of repeated violations of public health orders.”

While the pastor was scheduled to be released, Hinshaw said he did not confirm he would comply with conditions of his release. She stressed those decisions are determined by the courts; not Alberta Health nor AHS.

“This is a rare incident and I want to thank the vast majority of faith leaders and faith communities who have worked hard to protect each other and the broader communities by following the measures that are in place,” Hinshaw said.

Alberta recorded 415 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, with an additional seven COVID-related deaths.

For more info, please go to https://globalnews.ca/news/7648575/alberta-health-hinshaw-covid-19-february-18-2021/

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Category
U.S. & Canada
Tags
alberta, edmonton, calgary
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