The Alberta government is lifting the few pandemic restrictions that remain in place, saying the province is moving past the Omicron wave as COVID-19 hospitalizations decline steadily.
The government announced the decision in a news release late Monday afternoon, saying it will move to Step 3 of its reopening plan at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Pandemic measures that will end include mandatory masking on public transit and isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms.
The government says isolation will still be recommended for those with symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test.
The news release says Alberta’s rate of new hospitalizations has been declining since its peak on April 26, when there were 20.7 new COVID-19 admissions per day per million people.
It says as of June 9, the weekly average of new hospitalizations fell to 6.6 per day per million people.
“We need to live with COVID-19 while accepting that it will continue to be present,” said Health Minister Jason Copping in the release.
The release also noted that PCR test positivity and waste water surveillance shows a continuing trend of declining COVID-19 transmission.
It says that ending isolation requirements is in line with policies in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Alberta ended most of its pandemic restrictions, including a proof of vaccination requirement for certain activities, school requirements and capacity limits for venues in February and March.
The province still requires masking and other measures to protect patients in hospitals and contracted health facilities, and these policies will “remain in place” as required by the Alberta Health Services’ for infection prevention and control.
It says orders by the chief medical officer of health for continuing care will be rescinded by June 30, but that some measures in those settings like isolation of symptomatic residents, outbreak protocols and masking will remain in place through standards and policy.
“Learning to live with COVID-19 does not mean forgetting about it,” said chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
“As we bring COVID-19 management in line with other respiratory diseases, it will continue to be vital that we receive our primary vaccine series and any additional booster doses we are eligible for, and continue good habits like washing our hands regularly and avoiding being around others if we feel sick.”
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