Edmonton’s June relaunch

by Jake Cardinal

(June 23, 2020) – In recent days there have been a number of Edmonton restaurant closures due to fears of COVID-19.

The temporary closures come after customers and staff at the affected restaurants tested positive for COVID.

The Edmonton Journal reported that, “Amid the increase, GRETA Bar Yeg, the Pint Downtown on 109 Street, MKT Fresh Food & Beer Market on Gateway Boulevard, the downtown Earls Tin Palace and Round 2 on Gateway all announced temporary closures after customers or staff tested positive.”

It is important to note that the closures were all done pre-emptively. The chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Alberta Health Services did not order those restaurants to close.

Hinshaw stated, “It’s important to take every case seriously, but also to remember one case does not automatically require one business to close for public health reasons. It also does not mean that anyone who visited the same establishment is automatically at risk. Determining who is at risk is something our contact-tracing team closely assess based on when the individual became symptomatic and two days prior to that point. Anyone at risk of exposure is immediately contacted, offered testing and required to isolate.”

GRETA president Chris Decock said, “Our preemptive decision to close was a pretty important one. There’s a lot of fear around this whole thing. Our approach is one of clarity, transparency. We (could) have another situation two weeks from now, it could be a month from now. If we are ever in doubt, even remotely in doubt, we will close down, ensure we’re good and then reopen.”

Alberta added 45 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday June 23, 2020 after more than 6,500 tests. That brings active cases across the province to 532, with 37 patients in hospital and six of them in ICUs. There were no new deaths Tuesday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

The Edmonton Zone passed the Calgary Zone once again on Tuesday, with 236 and 230 cases, respectively. Edmonton itself has 233 infections, while Calgary has 202. On Monday, the province added the northeast Edmonton municipal district to its watch category after active cases spiked to 45.

Six patients and two staff at the Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton have tested positive for COVID-19, Dr. Deena Hinshaw also said. “This outbreak is confined to a single unit and so far, six patients and two staff have tested positive. Outbreak protocols have already been implemented and all staff or patients who may have been exposed are being tested.”

Things are not all bad however, as 7,096 Albertans have recovered from the illness. Over the last 24 hours, 6,500 tests were completed. Alberta has done more than 400,000 tests for the novel coronavirus.

Jake Cardinal is Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Alberta Native News.

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