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RMWB will not be requesting a curfew at this time despite high COVID-19 numbers

Last Updated Apr 30, 2021 at 6:38 pm MDT

FILE -- Signage on a B.C. highway urges people to avoid all non-essential travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ryan Lidemark, NEWS 1130 Photo)

FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) – The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will not be requesting a curfew at this time as the area continues to struggle through the third wave of COVID-19.

On Thursday, Premier Jason Kenney announced additional restrictions for COVID hotspots in Alberta, including Fort McMurray. It means that for at least the next two weeks, junior and senior high school students will be learning from home. Indoor fitness and sports have also been suspended.

Kenney added that the province would implement a curfew for areas with at least 1,000 cases per 100,000 population if the municipality requests it.

According to a press release from the RMWB, they will not be making such a request.

“Council received an update from Administration Friday afternoon on steps that have been taken this week to address our region’s high COVID-19 count,” said Mayor Don Scott. “The advocacy from Indigenous Leadership and the Municipality has created more opportunities for residents to participate in the vaccination program. While we know the province has announced that a curfew is available, the Municipality has not requested a curfew at this time. I want to assure residents that any move in that direction would be discussed at a public meeting with public input. Working with Administration, we will continue to monitor the situation, and advocate for more information and data from Alberta Health Services and other levels of government. We are grateful for the many strong voices of advocacy on this matter, including that of our Indigenous leadership.”

As of Friday, there are 1,291 active cases in Fort McMurray (the equivalent of 1625.5 active cases per 100,000 population) and 25 in the surrounding region.

The municipality urges residents to continuing following all public health measures and to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Earlier this week, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that the age of eligibility would be lowered to 30 in the RMWB.

Fort McMurray is also set to receive the first batch of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine once it arrives in the province. Late Friday afternoon, Health Canada announced it was pausing the distribution of the recently received Janssen doses after learning that an FDA inspection found “multiple areas of concern” at the Baltimore plant where the vaccine is processed.

Health Canada says it is working with the FDA and Janssen to ensure the batch of vaccines received meets quality, safety, and efficacy standards.