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Alberta to relaunch Thursday but COVID-19 restrictions to remain for Calgary, Brooks: Kenney

Alberta will proceed to the first phase of its relaunch plan on Thursday, Premier Jason Kenney says, though Calgary and Brooks will reopen more slowly than the rest of the province.

“In two and a half hours, I’ll be announcing that we are proceeding with phase one of our relaunch,” Kenney said Wednesday during a noon-hour virtual town-hall event organized by the Canadian American Business Council.

“But we’re going to be moving a little bit more slowly in two communities — in Calgary and Brooks — because we have 85 per cent of our [COVID-19] cases, our active cases, in those two communities, and our medical people, our public health people, want to take a slightly slower approach to those communities,” Kenney said.

Kenney was joined at the town-hall event by Economic Development Minister Tanya Fir and by James Rajotte, Alberta’s senior representative to the United States.

At 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the premier and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, are scheduled to hold a news conference. 

An important milestone in Alberta’s battle against COVID-19 passed without much notice earlier this month when two lines on a graph crossed.

It happened sometime between May 4 and May 5, when the line that charts recovered cases crossed the line denoting active cases.

Since then, the two have diverged, with recovered cases rising and active cases steadily falling.

Active cases of COVID-19 reached their peak in Alberta on April 30, with 3,148. They have fallen ever since.

In Tuesday’s update, the number of active cases had dropped to 1,361, the lowest point since April 19.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is expected to join Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw at Wednesday’s update about the COVID-19 situation in the province. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Kenney was scheduled to meet with cabinet’s emergency management committee Tuesday evening, to make decisions about whether to press ahead with the first stage of the province’s plan to reopen the economy.

Kenney said last week that some public health restrictions would likely be lifted on Thursday, when retail stores, hair salons, museums, daycares and day camps would be allowed to reopen, and restaurants and cafes could choose to offer dine-in service again. 

An announcement is expected later today.

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