OHS Canada Magazine

Chief medical health officer eases COVID rules in Alberta flood areas: premier

Province shipping masks to Fort McMurray


FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Premier Jason Kenney says the province’s chief medical officer of health is relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions for people who are dealing with flooding in northern Alberta.

Kenney says in a tweet sent out late Tuesday that there have been concerns expressed in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, about physical distancing and gathering limits while volunteering.

He says Dr. Deena Hinshaw has exempted municipality residents from the restrictions.

Kenney says the province is shipping masks to Fort McMurray to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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A 25-kilometre-long ice jam has caused major flooding and forced about 13,000 people from their homes in the city’s downtown earlier this week.

It has led to a second state of local emergency on top of one declared last month because of the pandemic.

Municipal council members toured the areas affected by flooding Tuesday night. They said in a news release that they will share preliminary assessments and an estimate of the damage in the coming days.

“It is difficult to see the damage that has been done to our community during these trying times,” Mayor Don Scott said in a news release.

“Together we will get through this historic flooding event as a strong and resilient community like we have done before.”

Fort McMurray has dealt with its share of disasters, including a raging wildfire four years ago that forced an evacuation of the entire city and destroyed 2,400 homes and buildings.