Skip to content

COVID-19 restrictions could lift on rural areas sooner than urban: Kenney

“There's no reason why we should keep certain remote rural areas with little or no viral spread on the same lockdown as, let's say, parts of Calgary where we've seen a much higher level of infection."
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney
Premier Jason Kenney presents the COVID-19 modelling projections for Alberta at a media conference on Wednesday, April 8. (Photo is a screengrab)

Rural regions with little to no COVID-19 spread could see their social distancing measures lift more quickly than urban centres with more outbreaks.

During a media call with community newspapers Thursday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said when social distancing measures start to lift, which he has projected for the end of May, rural regions might see their restrictions lift more quickly.

“There's no reason why we should keep certain remote rural areas with little or no viral spread on the same lockdown as, let's say, parts of Calgary where we've seen a much higher level of infection,” Kenney said.

“When we get into the relaunch phase, there's a good chance that we will start allowing businesses to reopen and amenities to reopen in many parts of rural Alberta first, because there is a lower risk of viral spread there.”

As of press time Friday, the province had seen roughly 1,500 cases of COVID-19, with 61 per cent of cases in the Calgary zone, 26 per cent of cases in the Edmonton zone, six per cent in the north zone, five per cent in the central zone and just two per cent in the south zone.

Kenney said when the restrictions begin to lift, the province will keep the population safe from COVID-19 using a more targeted approach.

“That includes ramping up our already world-leading level of testing so that we can get to a level of mass testing, including serological testing of people's antibodies so we can validate that people have been infected are now immune and can get back into the workforce,” Kenney said.

Alberta plans to ramp up testing to 20,000 tests per day to expand the tracking of infection.

The premier also said they will be using more strict border screenings to control the spread.

“I think this is one area where the federal government let us down and we intend to supplement or, where necessary, replace the federal government's screening at airports and ports of entry,” Kenney said.

“It also involves more aggressive quarantine efforts for foreign nationals coming into the province ... (who) may be symptomatic.”

The premier said the province will use smartphone apps on phones to keep track of those who are under mandatory quarantines.

“We want to know if that person is actually going to go home and stay home. And if not, we can deal with that individual before they spread the virus."

“One choice is we lock everybody down on a quasi-permanent basis, which is impossible, or we take a smart and more targeted approach. And one way of doing that is the smart use of wireless technology."

Jennifer Henderson

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette and has been with Great West Media since 2015
Read more


No Facebook? No problem.

Here is how you can stay connected to the Airdrie City View and access local news in your community:

Bookmark our homepage for easy access to local news.
Pick up a copy of our newspaper and read local news that you cannot get elsewhere.
Sign up for our FREE newsletters to have local news & more delivered daily to your email inbox.
Download our mobile icon to have access to our news right at your fingertips.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks