All remaining COVID-19 public health restrictions in Alberta will be lifted Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., including mandatory isolation requirements.
According to the province, Alberta will enter Step 3, the last stage of the reopening plan, that will end mandatory isolation and masking on public transit. The change was announced Monday evening by a government news release.
Isolation for anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive will only be recommended by the province.
Mandatory masking rules at Alberta Health Services and other health-care facilities will now be determined by individual sites.
“We need to live with COVID-19 while accepting that it will continue to be present,” said Jason Copping, minister of health.
“We’ll continue to work to keep Albertans safe by ensuring access to vaccines, antivirals and rapid tests, through ongoing COVID-19 surveillance, and by enhancing health-care system capacity.”
According to the province, PCR test positivity and wastewater surveillance data indicate a trend of “declining COVID-19 transmission.”
Hospitalization rates have declined since their peak on April 26, the province says, when admissions to hospitals in Alberta for COVID-19 were at 20.7 per day per million population. As of last week, that figure was at 6.6 per day per million population.
The province says it is preparing for the fall and winter respiratory virus season, including maintaining testing and surveillance programs while preparing to expand hospital surge capacity.
In a statement, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said learning to live with COVID-19 does not mean forgetting about it.
“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,” she said.