The Alberta government is increasing its outdoor gathering limit to 50 people.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, announced this and the latest statistics at the government’s daily press conference Friday afternoon.
The prior limit for outdoor gatherings was 15 people. Hinshaw said physical distancing of at least two metres between different households must still be maintained at these gatherings and attendees must follow proper hygiene practices.
“I also encourage you not to share food or drinks at any of these gatherings, as this practice has frequently been linked to transmission of the virus,” she said.
“As we start to ease certain restrictions, it is increasingly important that we all continue to take proper cautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including frequent hand-washing, always staying home whenever you feel ill, and considering use of a non-medical mask while out in public, particularly if you will be within two metres of others.”
Hinshaw said Albertans must use their best judgment when determining whether a gathering can go ahead.
“For example, if you are planning a gathering of friends in your backyard, only invite as many people as your yard can hold while maintaining two metres of physical distance between people from different households.”
Indoor gatherings are still limited to fewer than 15 people, she added.
There are 62 Albertans hospitalized due to COVID-19, nine of whom have been admitted into an intensive care unit.
Fifty-eight new cases were confirmed during Friday’s update – 5,317 people have recovered from the virus and there are 1,073 active cases in the province.
Four new deaths, all located in continuing-care facilities in the Calgary zone, were confirmed Friday as well. This brings the provincial death toll to 125.
One new case was confirmed in Mountain View County – it now has two active and six recovered cases.
Many other central Alberta communities saw no change in COVID-19 statistics when compared to Thursday, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website.
The City of Red Deer still has two active and 35 recovered cases, while Red Deer County sits at four active and 12 recovered cases.
Ponoka County has one active and two recovered cases. Stettler County and Clearwater County both have two recovered cases.
Lacombe County has three recovered cases and the City of Lacombe has two recovered cases.