Passover celebrations will change this year – in Alberta and around the world

Dr. Deena Hinshaw

(March 26) – Alberta reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 on March 25, bringing the total so far to 419. To date, by region, 250 are in the Calgary zone, 100 in the Edmonton zone, 35 in Central, and 10 in South with 1 unknown.

Those 419 cases include 33 thought to have been transmitted within the province, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference.

Twenty people are now in hospital with the illness, including eight in intensive-care units.

“These are significant case numbers and they underscore the seriousness of the situation that we face,” Hinshaw said.

With religious and cultural holidays approaching in April, including Passover, Easter and Ramadan, Hinshaw emphasized that celebrations for those events will have to change.

“Now is not the time to plan any travel, even to other cities or provinces,” she said. “Or to attend large family gatherings or dinners.

“Now is not the time to visit grandparents for Sunday dinner. Now is not the time to host or attend a potluck with friends. Now is not the time to plan for a family reunion. This is the time to stay home and work together to limit the spread.”

The chief medical officer of health also outlined new guidelines for families, cautioning them not to share snacks or cups, not to use communal fruit bowls and at meal times, have one person serve everyone at dinner table.

On March 24, health officials became aware of an outbreak in an adult group home for people with developmental disabilities, where one staff member and two residents have tested positive for coronavirus.

“Over the past two days, despite the aggressive measures already in place, it’s become clear that additional measures are needed,” Hinshaw said.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Alberta has implemented the following public health restrictions.

  • Student attendance at schools is prohibited.
  • In-person classes at post-secondary institutions are cancelled until further notice. Campuses remain open.
  • Government is working with post-secondary institutions to ensure students are not prevented from being eligible for admission to post-secondary studies for the upcoming school year.
  • All licensed child care facilities, out-of-school care programs and preschool programs are closed indefinitely.
  • All long-term care and other continuing care facilities are advised to limit visitation to essential visitors only. See Information for People Visiting Patients for more information.
  • Places of worship are no longer exempt from restrictions on mass gatheringsNo gatherings with more than 50 people are allowed, including:
    • conferences
    • workshops
    • worship gatherings
    • family events, such as weddings and funerals

    Cancel gatherings with fewer than 50 people if the event:

    • includes any attendees travelling from outside of Canada
    • has, as its focus, attendees that are members of critical infrastructure or critical service roles (e.g. healthcare workers, first responders, electric/power workers, telecommunications)
    • includes attendees from demographic groups at greater risk of severe disease, such as people 60 years of age or older and individuals with chronic medical conditions
    • has attendees participating in activities that promote disease transmission (e.g. singing, cheering, close contact, sharing food or beverages, buffet style meals)
    • is in a space that does not allow for recommended social distancing (at least 6 feet between attendees)

    Find more risk mitigation strategies for mass gatherings (PDF, 23 KB)

    If you violate this public health order and proceed to hold an event with more than 50 attendees, you may be subject to a fine.

  • To limit the amount of time Albertans are spending in large crowds and crowded spaces, all Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreational facilities and private entertainment facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries, community centres, children’s play centres, casinos, racing entertainment centres, and bingo halls.
  • Sit-down restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, food courts and other food-serving facilities, including those with a minors-allowed liquor license, are limited to 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 50 people. Take-out, delivery or drive-through service is permitted. Licensed facilities will also be permitted to deliver liquor.
  • Until further notice, all Albertans are restricted from attending bars and nightclubs, where minors are prohibited by law.

Clear here for updated information from Alberta Health.



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