Edmonton

Alberta action plan: Better testing, screening and tracking in COVID-19 'relaunch strategy'

Mass testing and more masks, stepped-up screening of international arrivals to Alberta and tracking the movements of quarantined individuals are all planned under a relaunch strategy announced Tuesday night by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Once the peak has passed, Alberta aims to do 20,000 COVID-19 tests each day

This week, Alberta's chief medical officer of health began encouraging the careful use of face masks, including homemade coverings, as a way to limit spread of the coronavirus (David Bajer/CBC)

Mass testing and more masks, stepped-up screening of international arrivals to Alberta and tracking the movements of quarantined individuals are all planned under a relaunch strategy announced Tuesday night by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

The preliminary details of the plan focus on gradually boosting the economy while preventing a second wave of COVID-19.

Kenney said the strategy takes information from countries like Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, which have had more success than other nations in terms of economic activity and viral spread.

The strategy can't be implemented until current physical distancing rules are relaxed, something Kenney said isn't likely to happen until the end of May.

As of Tuesday, Alberta had 1,373 confirmed cases, including 26 deaths and 447 recoveries.

In a televised address, Kenney outlined a probable scenario suggesting Alberta could see as many as 800,000 infections and between 400 and 3,100 deaths by the end of summer.

He also said that under a more serious but less likely "elevated" scenario, infections would peak at the beginning of May with as many as one million cases, and between 500 and 6,600 deaths.

More information about the Alberta Health Services projections is expected to be released on Wednesday.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney addressed Albertans about COVID-19 during a televised address on Tuesday. (CBC)

Here are some key points of the relaunch strategy:

Mass testing

Kenney plans for Alberta to conduct as many as 20,000 COVID-19 tests a day. He said testing is the foundation of the strategy. The plan will use new tests to identify positive cases and those with immunity in a more timely fashion.

The endeavour will use "new tests that are being developed and approved, to identify positive cases and those with immunity more quickly, so we can get people back to work."

Tracing the spread from infected patients

Kenney said Alberta will have more precise tracing of close contacts of those who are infected. "We have done this better than other Canadian provinces to date, and we will expand those efforts."

Strong border screening

Kenney said he feels Canada waited too long to close its borders, especially to countries with high levels of infection. He said Alberta will deploy a "much more rigorous approach than the federal government has in screening and quarantining international arrivals."

Movement tracking

The premier said Alberta will use technology to "strictly enforce quarantine orders to ensure compliance." He said that could include using smart phone apps, when appropriate.

Wear masks

Alberta plans to "encourage and facilitate the use of masks in crowded public spaces, like mass transit," Kenney said.

With files from CBC News

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now