City plans for second wave and responds to increase in case numbers
At today’s Emergency Advisory Committee meeting, Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin provided updates on the City of Edmonton’s recent actions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and plan for a second wave.
City responds to increase in case numbers
Edmonton was placed on the province’s watch list on August 18. Since then, the City has taken a number of actions to reduce the number of cases including:
- Increasing communication with AHS to three meetings a week
- Providing focused safety messaging through community groups and businesses
- Adding more enforcement patrols in areas where active case numbers are higher, resulting in more compliance data
The City continues to watch case numbers closely and plan for increased safety measures if necessary.
Escalation model introduced for second wave planning
The City is preparing for a second wave or widespread outbreak of COVID-19 and, in partnership with public health officials, has developed an Escalation Model to guide the response in the immediate, short term and long term. The five-level decision making model outlines the progression, options and approaches for the City as local COVID-19 cases increase.
Edmonton is at Level One in the Model and the response involves building public awareness and education and continuing to monitor compliance with health and safety measures and the mandatory masks or face coverings bylaw. Escalation to Level Two and beyond would result in restrictions or closures to City-owned facilities, programs and services.
No single metric triggers escalation and the threshold for progression includes a mix of indicators, including the spread of the virus, risk status and advice from the AHS/Pandemic Team.
Mask compliance and exemption cards
Since the Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw came into effect on August 1, the City has seen a high rate of compliance with over 80 – 90 per cent of Edmontonians wearing masks or other face coverings in public indoor spaces. To date, no tickets have been issued.
While compliance with the bylaw remains high, the City has heard from the public that litter from disposable masks and gloves is increasing. The City urges Edmontonians to safely dispose of used masks and gloves in a garbage bin.
The City continues to assess the mask and face covering exemption card program and the mechanism for issuing them. The distribution of mask cards was halted on August 12. Several options are being considered that would place more rigor around proof of exemption.
Given the complex processes associated with the various options, the City is working through the operational, technical and financial assessments of each and connecting with Business Improvement Areas and the Accessibility Advisory Committee for input and feedback.
As the City continues to respond to Camp Pekiwewin, the focus is on developing a collaborative approach to ending the encampment. At this time no date has been set for the closure of the camp. The City has worked to ensure a safe environment at the camp and has taken enforcement actions where necessary to prevent the growth of additional encampments around the existing site.
The City continues to monitor the camp, remains in communication with both camp organizers and Rossdale community members, and is working with Homeward Trust and other agencies towards the City’s goal of respectfully resolving the situation in a timely manner.For more information:edmonton.ca/COVID-19