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Region has long way to go in COVID-19 crisis

IMAGE. Supplied by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

As the weather improves, many residents look ahead to reopening the RMWB to business as usual.

Some asked about the removal of COVID-19 restrictions at the RMWB virtual townhall on April 16.

This is the first townhall since Kearl Lake announced there were confirmed cases connected to their site.

READ MORE: 12 cases of COVID-19 confirmed at Kearl Lake

Director of Emergency Management Scott Davis said Alberta Health Services (AHS) will implement its outbreak procedures on-site.

“I know this news is troubling to hear, but our region remains well-positioned to deal with these cases.”

He thanked AHS, Kearl Lake, camp operators, and employees for their immediate response and due diligence.

Albertans have an eye on flattening the curve of the projected impact of COVID-19.

Davis urged residents to continue looking to AHS for guidance.

“We don’t want to let off the gas so to speak. Physical distancing, washing hands, covering coughs, and not touching the face are strategies that we want to enforce.”

If residents don’t follow procedures, he added the region would see a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19.

When asked about travelling, Davis said no travel restrictions on Hwy. 63 are in place.

“Part of that is because of the goods, groceries, fuel, and other things that we rely on in the community.”

Some residents rely on transit buses to get from place to place within the RMWB.

CAO Jamie Doyle said measures are in place inside and outside buses to get messaging across to passengers.

“Some things we’re doing is practising social distancing, taping [the] seats to illustrate proper social distancing, as well as digital signage on the front of the buses saying where they’re full.”

Residents may call the Pulse Line at (780) 743-7000 to let the Municipality know if there are infractions.

As the snow melts, Albertans look to hit the links and play some golf.

The province deemed golf courses and pro shops as non-essential.

READ MORE: Petition calls for Alberta government to open golf courses

“Golf courses and parks remain closed. Chief medical officer [of health] Hinshaw has indicated golf courses are not an essential service.” Said CAO Jamie Doyle.

Doyle said gyms shall remain closed for the same reasons.

The theme from municipal and community leaders in the RMWB has a long way to go.

Mayor Don Scott thanked residents that called with questions.

He also expressed thanks to frontline healthcare workers at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre and residents performing essential services.

The RMWB scheduled the next virtual townhall for April 23, 2020, at 6:10 p.m.