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

Measures to protect patients at Alberta Health Services (AHS) and contracted healthcare 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 on Tuesday evening.

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The province announced Monday afternoon that it will move into the third and final stage of its plan to lift pandemic restrictions at 11:59 p.m. on June 14, as the rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to drop from from 20.7 per million inhabitants per day on April 26 to a weekly average of 6.6 per day and per million inhabitants on June 9.

PCR test positivity and sewage monitoring also show a continuing downward trend in COVID-19 transmission, according to Health Minister Jason Copping.

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

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

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

Orders issued by the Continuing Care Chief Medical Officer of Health will be rescinded by June 30 “but certain measures in continuing care settings will remain in place through standards and policies,” the statement said. This includes maintaining practices such as isolating symptomatic residents, outbreak protocols and masking.

“Learning to live with COVID-19 doesn’t mean forgetting about it,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, CMOH. “As we align the management of COVID-19 with other respiratory diseases, it will remain vital that we receive our primary vaccine series and any additional booster doses for which we are eligible, and that we maintain good habits, such as wash our hands regularly and avoid being with others if we feel sick.

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