How we got here: A timeline of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

News Sep 16, 2021 by Richie Assaly Toronto Star

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has declared a state of public health emergency and announced a broad range of new measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports and far-reaching public health restrictions.

The announcement — which comes as Alberta battles a deadly fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has threatened to overwhelm the province’s hospitals — marks a major reversal for Kenney’s United Conservative Party, which for months had resisted further restrictions and pushed back against the idea of vaccine mandates.

All that changed on Wednesday, just hours after Alberta Health Services reported that 24 people had died from the virus in a single day. The new measures are a culmination of a tumultuous few months since Kenney declared the province “open for summer” on July 1.

Here’s a look back at how the Alberta government has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic since its arrival in March last year.

March 17, 2020

Premier Jason Kenney declares a public state of health emergency to combat the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several restrictions and social distancing rules are introduced, including a ban on organized gatherings of more than 50 people.

March 27, 2020

As the number of cases in the province surpasses 500, Kenney introduces more restrictions, limiting outdoor and indoor events to 15 people. Some non-essential businesses are closed.

April 20, 2020

As the first wave continues to grow, the Cargill meat processing plant in High River, Alta., temporarily closes after the operation is linked to more than 350 cases of COVID-19.

Spring/summer 2020

Though some restrictions are lifted following the peak of the first wave on April 30, all mass gatherings and events are called off for the remainder of the spring and summer. The Calgary Stampede is cancelled for the first time in a century.

Aug. 21, 2020

Teachers, parents and students across the province hold rallies to protest the UCP’s school re-entry plan, which does not include funding to reduce class sizes. Concerns also grow around topics such as ventilation, sanitation and staffing.

Sept. 1, 2020

Kenney says his government has accepted that COVID-19 infections in schools are inevitable and don’t warrant closing down all classrooms: “It’s time to go back to some kind of normal.”

November 2020

New restrictions, including limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, are introduced as the second wave arrives. Grades 7 to 12 move to online learning.

December 2020

Through December, more than 1,000 Alberta schools report at least one case of the virus, including more than 300 where in-school transmission was suspected, according to the Calgary Herald.

Dec. 8, 2020

Kenney introduces strict lockdown measures to combat the rapidly growing second wave. The lockdown includes a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings, the shuttering of non-essential businesses, and mandatory mask mandates. By mid-December, Alberta has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country.

January to March 2021

As cases slowly subside from a peak in mid-December, the Alberta government introduces a step-by-step framework to ease restrictions contingent on hospitalization rates.

April 6, 2021

Citing widespread rule-breaking and new COVID-19 variants, Kenney announces that Alberta is in a third wave of the pandemic, as the province averages 1,000 new cases each day. The government announces it will return to “Step 1” of its reopening framework, introducing new restrictions on dining, gyms and other non-essential businesses.

April 7, 2021

Fifteen UCP MLAs release a public letter criticizing new measures, despite the fact Alberta has the highest case counts and some of the loosest public health restrictions in the country.

May 4, 2021

After months of resisting the type of stay-at-home orders seen in Ontario, Kenney reverses course with a suite of new pandemic restrictions. This includes online learning for students, closing indoor dining and new limits on gatherings.

Mid-May 2021

Alberta makes national headlines as its case rate rises to one of the highest in North America. The third wave was “unrivalled in Canada, and propelled by what experts argue is a miasma of lacklustre policy, political unwillingness to alienate the province’s libertarian fringes, and dependency on a flagging oil industry that was struggling even before the pandemic,” wrote the Star’s Alex Boyd and Omar Mosleh.

May 26, 2021

The Alberta government announces a new reopening plan, replacing the “Path Forward” framework with a plan aimed to make the province “open for summer.” Tied to both vaccination rates and hospitalizations, the plan aims to drop all restrictions by July.

July 1, 2021

Alberta becomes the first Canadian jurisdiction to drop all restrictions after hitting the government’s goal of getting a first dose into 70 per cent of the eligible population. “Don’t live in fear,” Kenney told Albertans, before promising the “best summer ever.”

July 9, 2021

The Calgary Stampede returns, marking the first major event in Canada since the start of the pandemic. Kenney, who was spotted tossing pancakes at a traditional Stampede breakfast, tells reporters that Alberta will not have a vaccine passport.

July 28, 2021

Despite rising case counts and a vaccination rate that lags other parts of the country, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announces that by Aug. 16, masks will no longer be required in taxis or on transit in Alberta; that children won’t be required to wear masks in schools; and that there will no longer be a legally required isolation period should someone test positive for COVID-19.

Aug. 9, 2021

As concerns about the highly infectious Delta variant grow, the Alberta Medical Association section of pediatrics pens a letter to Kenney expressing grave concern over Alberta’s decision to eliminate COVID-19 testing and tracing, and its plan to end mandated isolation for positive cases.

Aug. 13, 2021

Following weeks of pressure, the Alberta government reverses course, extending remaining public health restrictions for six more weeks. “We are not going backwards. We are pausing to monitor and assess before taking a step forward,” Hinshaw said.

Late August 2021

Doctors begin to raise the alarm as Alberta’ fourth wave continues to grow. By late August, the province had about 34 per cent of the total active cases in Canada, with just 11 per cent of the country’s population.

Sept. 1, 2021

Kenney addresses Albertans for the first time since Aug. 9, after modelling from a team of independent pandemic researchers suggests a health crisis is unavoidable unless there is strong action. It is later confirmed that Kenney took a two-week vacation in Europe in late August.

Sept. 3, 2021

Kenney offers $100 gift cards to Albertans who aren’t vaccinated to try to curb the fourth wave. “For the love of God, please get vaccinated now,” Kenney told the media. “If you are unvaccinated, it is urgent that you protect yourself.”

Early September

Alberta Health Services announces it is postponing elective surgeries and outpatient procedures in an effort to create “sufficient ICU and in-patient capacity.” By Sept. 13, access to surgery decreased by up to 70 per cent in the Edmonton Zone.

Sept. 7, 2021

Twelve Alberta mayors call for Kenney to bring in provincewide COVID-19 vaccine passport rules.

Sept. 13, 2021

Hinshaw admits lifting all public health restrictions in July was the wrong move. “The expectations did not match the reality,” she said.

Hinshaw says she looked at evidence, consulted with colleagues and watched modelling in early summer — all which led her to recommend that Alberta move toward “endemic” at the outset of summer.

“Clearly, the move to endemics was too early,” she said.

Sept. 15, 2021

Kenney declares a state of public health emergency and introduces a slate of new measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports and wide-ranging public health restrictions.

Kenney defends his decision to lift restrictions during the summer, but says he is sorry for being “too enthusiastic” that the province would be open for good and for underestimating the virus.

Kenney also announces a number of new measures regarding social distancing as recommended by provincial health authorities, including a ban on any organized gatherings of more than 50 people.

Despite having promised for weeks that the province would not do so, Kenney told the news conference a vaccine passport system will be brought in for some businesses beginning on Sept. 20. These include restaurants, some events and non-essential businesses.

Eligible businesses and events that agree to require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test will be exempt from other public health restrictions being brought in on Sept. 20.

Sept. 16, 2021

At least eight post-secondary schools in Alberta temporarily cancel in-person classes as they work to adapt to a new range of provincial COVID-19 health restrictions.

Richie Assaly is a Toronto-based digital producer for the Star. Reach him via email: rassaly@thestar.ca

How we got here: A timeline of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

News Sep 16, 2021 by Richie Assaly Toronto Star

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has declared a state of public health emergency and announced a broad range of new measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports and far-reaching public health restrictions.

The announcement — which comes as Alberta battles a deadly fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has threatened to overwhelm the province’s hospitals — marks a major reversal for Kenney’s United Conservative Party, which for months had resisted further restrictions and pushed back against the idea of vaccine mandates.

All that changed on Wednesday, just hours after Alberta Health Services reported that 24 people had died from the virus in a single day. The new measures are a culmination of a tumultuous few months since Kenney declared the province “open for summer” on July 1.

Here’s a look back at how the Alberta government has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic since its arrival in March last year.

March 17, 2020

Premier Jason Kenney declares a public state of health emergency to combat the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several restrictions and social distancing rules are introduced, including a ban on organized gatherings of more than 50 people.

March 27, 2020

As the number of cases in the province surpasses 500, Kenney introduces more restrictions, limiting outdoor and indoor events to 15 people. Some non-essential businesses are closed.

April 20, 2020

As the first wave continues to grow, the Cargill meat processing plant in High River, Alta., temporarily closes after the operation is linked to more than 350 cases of COVID-19.

Spring/summer 2020

Though some restrictions are lifted following the peak of the first wave on April 30, all mass gatherings and events are called off for the remainder of the spring and summer. The Calgary Stampede is cancelled for the first time in a century.

Aug. 21, 2020

Teachers, parents and students across the province hold rallies to protest the UCP’s school re-entry plan, which does not include funding to reduce class sizes. Concerns also grow around topics such as ventilation, sanitation and staffing.

Sept. 1, 2020

Kenney says his government has accepted that COVID-19 infections in schools are inevitable and don’t warrant closing down all classrooms: “It’s time to go back to some kind of normal.”

November 2020

New restrictions, including limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, are introduced as the second wave arrives. Grades 7 to 12 move to online learning.

December 2020

Through December, more than 1,000 Alberta schools report at least one case of the virus, including more than 300 where in-school transmission was suspected, according to the Calgary Herald.

Dec. 8, 2020

Kenney introduces strict lockdown measures to combat the rapidly growing second wave. The lockdown includes a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings, the shuttering of non-essential businesses, and mandatory mask mandates. By mid-December, Alberta has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country.

January to March 2021

As cases slowly subside from a peak in mid-December, the Alberta government introduces a step-by-step framework to ease restrictions contingent on hospitalization rates.

April 6, 2021

Citing widespread rule-breaking and new COVID-19 variants, Kenney announces that Alberta is in a third wave of the pandemic, as the province averages 1,000 new cases each day. The government announces it will return to “Step 1” of its reopening framework, introducing new restrictions on dining, gyms and other non-essential businesses.

April 7, 2021

Fifteen UCP MLAs release a public letter criticizing new measures, despite the fact Alberta has the highest case counts and some of the loosest public health restrictions in the country.

May 4, 2021

After months of resisting the type of stay-at-home orders seen in Ontario, Kenney reverses course with a suite of new pandemic restrictions. This includes online learning for students, closing indoor dining and new limits on gatherings.

Mid-May 2021

Alberta makes national headlines as its case rate rises to one of the highest in North America. The third wave was “unrivalled in Canada, and propelled by what experts argue is a miasma of lacklustre policy, political unwillingness to alienate the province’s libertarian fringes, and dependency on a flagging oil industry that was struggling even before the pandemic,” wrote the Star’s Alex Boyd and Omar Mosleh.

May 26, 2021

The Alberta government announces a new reopening plan, replacing the “Path Forward” framework with a plan aimed to make the province “open for summer.” Tied to both vaccination rates and hospitalizations, the plan aims to drop all restrictions by July.

July 1, 2021

Alberta becomes the first Canadian jurisdiction to drop all restrictions after hitting the government’s goal of getting a first dose into 70 per cent of the eligible population. “Don’t live in fear,” Kenney told Albertans, before promising the “best summer ever.”

July 9, 2021

The Calgary Stampede returns, marking the first major event in Canada since the start of the pandemic. Kenney, who was spotted tossing pancakes at a traditional Stampede breakfast, tells reporters that Alberta will not have a vaccine passport.

July 28, 2021

Despite rising case counts and a vaccination rate that lags other parts of the country, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announces that by Aug. 16, masks will no longer be required in taxis or on transit in Alberta; that children won’t be required to wear masks in schools; and that there will no longer be a legally required isolation period should someone test positive for COVID-19.

Aug. 9, 2021

As concerns about the highly infectious Delta variant grow, the Alberta Medical Association section of pediatrics pens a letter to Kenney expressing grave concern over Alberta’s decision to eliminate COVID-19 testing and tracing, and its plan to end mandated isolation for positive cases.

Aug. 13, 2021

Following weeks of pressure, the Alberta government reverses course, extending remaining public health restrictions for six more weeks. “We are not going backwards. We are pausing to monitor and assess before taking a step forward,” Hinshaw said.

Late August 2021

Doctors begin to raise the alarm as Alberta’ fourth wave continues to grow. By late August, the province had about 34 per cent of the total active cases in Canada, with just 11 per cent of the country’s population.

Sept. 1, 2021

Kenney addresses Albertans for the first time since Aug. 9, after modelling from a team of independent pandemic researchers suggests a health crisis is unavoidable unless there is strong action. It is later confirmed that Kenney took a two-week vacation in Europe in late August.

Sept. 3, 2021

Kenney offers $100 gift cards to Albertans who aren’t vaccinated to try to curb the fourth wave. “For the love of God, please get vaccinated now,” Kenney told the media. “If you are unvaccinated, it is urgent that you protect yourself.”

Early September

Alberta Health Services announces it is postponing elective surgeries and outpatient procedures in an effort to create “sufficient ICU and in-patient capacity.” By Sept. 13, access to surgery decreased by up to 70 per cent in the Edmonton Zone.

Sept. 7, 2021

Twelve Alberta mayors call for Kenney to bring in provincewide COVID-19 vaccine passport rules.

Sept. 13, 2021

Hinshaw admits lifting all public health restrictions in July was the wrong move. “The expectations did not match the reality,” she said.

Hinshaw says she looked at evidence, consulted with colleagues and watched modelling in early summer — all which led her to recommend that Alberta move toward “endemic” at the outset of summer.

“Clearly, the move to endemics was too early,” she said.

Sept. 15, 2021

Kenney declares a state of public health emergency and introduces a slate of new measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports and wide-ranging public health restrictions.

Kenney defends his decision to lift restrictions during the summer, but says he is sorry for being “too enthusiastic” that the province would be open for good and for underestimating the virus.

Kenney also announces a number of new measures regarding social distancing as recommended by provincial health authorities, including a ban on any organized gatherings of more than 50 people.

Despite having promised for weeks that the province would not do so, Kenney told the news conference a vaccine passport system will be brought in for some businesses beginning on Sept. 20. These include restaurants, some events and non-essential businesses.

Eligible businesses and events that agree to require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test will be exempt from other public health restrictions being brought in on Sept. 20.

Sept. 16, 2021

At least eight post-secondary schools in Alberta temporarily cancel in-person classes as they work to adapt to a new range of provincial COVID-19 health restrictions.

Richie Assaly is a Toronto-based digital producer for the Star. Reach him via email: rassaly@thestar.ca

How we got here: A timeline of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

News Sep 16, 2021 by Richie Assaly Toronto Star

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has declared a state of public health emergency and announced a broad range of new measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports and far-reaching public health restrictions.

The announcement — which comes as Alberta battles a deadly fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has threatened to overwhelm the province’s hospitals — marks a major reversal for Kenney’s United Conservative Party, which for months had resisted further restrictions and pushed back against the idea of vaccine mandates.

All that changed on Wednesday, just hours after Alberta Health Services reported that 24 people had died from the virus in a single day. The new measures are a culmination of a tumultuous few months since Kenney declared the province “open for summer” on July 1.

Here’s a look back at how the Alberta government has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic since its arrival in March last year.

March 17, 2020

Premier Jason Kenney declares a public state of health emergency to combat the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several restrictions and social distancing rules are introduced, including a ban on organized gatherings of more than 50 people.

March 27, 2020

As the number of cases in the province surpasses 500, Kenney introduces more restrictions, limiting outdoor and indoor events to 15 people. Some non-essential businesses are closed.

April 20, 2020

As the first wave continues to grow, the Cargill meat processing plant in High River, Alta., temporarily closes after the operation is linked to more than 350 cases of COVID-19.

Spring/summer 2020

Though some restrictions are lifted following the peak of the first wave on April 30, all mass gatherings and events are called off for the remainder of the spring and summer. The Calgary Stampede is cancelled for the first time in a century.

Aug. 21, 2020

Teachers, parents and students across the province hold rallies to protest the UCP’s school re-entry plan, which does not include funding to reduce class sizes. Concerns also grow around topics such as ventilation, sanitation and staffing.

Sept. 1, 2020

Kenney says his government has accepted that COVID-19 infections in schools are inevitable and don’t warrant closing down all classrooms: “It’s time to go back to some kind of normal.”

November 2020

New restrictions, including limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, are introduced as the second wave arrives. Grades 7 to 12 move to online learning.

December 2020

Through December, more than 1,000 Alberta schools report at least one case of the virus, including more than 300 where in-school transmission was suspected, according to the Calgary Herald.

Dec. 8, 2020

Kenney introduces strict lockdown measures to combat the rapidly growing second wave. The lockdown includes a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings, the shuttering of non-essential businesses, and mandatory mask mandates. By mid-December, Alberta has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country.

January to March 2021

As cases slowly subside from a peak in mid-December, the Alberta government introduces a step-by-step framework to ease restrictions contingent on hospitalization rates.

April 6, 2021

Citing widespread rule-breaking and new COVID-19 variants, Kenney announces that Alberta is in a third wave of the pandemic, as the province averages 1,000 new cases each day. The government announces it will return to “Step 1” of its reopening framework, introducing new restrictions on dining, gyms and other non-essential businesses.

April 7, 2021

Fifteen UCP MLAs release a public letter criticizing new measures, despite the fact Alberta has the highest case counts and some of the loosest public health restrictions in the country.

May 4, 2021

After months of resisting the type of stay-at-home orders seen in Ontario, Kenney reverses course with a suite of new pandemic restrictions. This includes online learning for students, closing indoor dining and new limits on gatherings.

Mid-May 2021

Alberta makes national headlines as its case rate rises to one of the highest in North America. The third wave was “unrivalled in Canada, and propelled by what experts argue is a miasma of lacklustre policy, political unwillingness to alienate the province’s libertarian fringes, and dependency on a flagging oil industry that was struggling even before the pandemic,” wrote the Star’s Alex Boyd and Omar Mosleh.

May 26, 2021

The Alberta government announces a new reopening plan, replacing the “Path Forward” framework with a plan aimed to make the province “open for summer.” Tied to both vaccination rates and hospitalizations, the plan aims to drop all restrictions by July.

July 1, 2021

Alberta becomes the first Canadian jurisdiction to drop all restrictions after hitting the government’s goal of getting a first dose into 70 per cent of the eligible population. “Don’t live in fear,” Kenney told Albertans, before promising the “best summer ever.”

July 9, 2021

The Calgary Stampede returns, marking the first major event in Canada since the start of the pandemic. Kenney, who was spotted tossing pancakes at a traditional Stampede breakfast, tells reporters that Alberta will not have a vaccine passport.

July 28, 2021

Despite rising case counts and a vaccination rate that lags other parts of the country, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announces that by Aug. 16, masks will no longer be required in taxis or on transit in Alberta; that children won’t be required to wear masks in schools; and that there will no longer be a legally required isolation period should someone test positive for COVID-19.

Aug. 9, 2021

As concerns about the highly infectious Delta variant grow, the Alberta Medical Association section of pediatrics pens a letter to Kenney expressing grave concern over Alberta’s decision to eliminate COVID-19 testing and tracing, and its plan to end mandated isolation for positive cases.

Aug. 13, 2021

Following weeks of pressure, the Alberta government reverses course, extending remaining public health restrictions for six more weeks. “We are not going backwards. We are pausing to monitor and assess before taking a step forward,” Hinshaw said.

Late August 2021

Doctors begin to raise the alarm as Alberta’ fourth wave continues to grow. By late August, the province had about 34 per cent of the total active cases in Canada, with just 11 per cent of the country’s population.

Sept. 1, 2021

Kenney addresses Albertans for the first time since Aug. 9, after modelling from a team of independent pandemic researchers suggests a health crisis is unavoidable unless there is strong action. It is later confirmed that Kenney took a two-week vacation in Europe in late August.

Sept. 3, 2021

Kenney offers $100 gift cards to Albertans who aren’t vaccinated to try to curb the fourth wave. “For the love of God, please get vaccinated now,” Kenney told the media. “If you are unvaccinated, it is urgent that you protect yourself.”

Early September

Alberta Health Services announces it is postponing elective surgeries and outpatient procedures in an effort to create “sufficient ICU and in-patient capacity.” By Sept. 13, access to surgery decreased by up to 70 per cent in the Edmonton Zone.

Sept. 7, 2021

Twelve Alberta mayors call for Kenney to bring in provincewide COVID-19 vaccine passport rules.

Sept. 13, 2021

Hinshaw admits lifting all public health restrictions in July was the wrong move. “The expectations did not match the reality,” she said.

Hinshaw says she looked at evidence, consulted with colleagues and watched modelling in early summer — all which led her to recommend that Alberta move toward “endemic” at the outset of summer.

“Clearly, the move to endemics was too early,” she said.

Sept. 15, 2021

Kenney declares a state of public health emergency and introduces a slate of new measures, including the introduction of vaccine passports and wide-ranging public health restrictions.

Kenney defends his decision to lift restrictions during the summer, but says he is sorry for being “too enthusiastic” that the province would be open for good and for underestimating the virus.

Kenney also announces a number of new measures regarding social distancing as recommended by provincial health authorities, including a ban on any organized gatherings of more than 50 people.

Despite having promised for weeks that the province would not do so, Kenney told the news conference a vaccine passport system will be brought in for some businesses beginning on Sept. 20. These include restaurants, some events and non-essential businesses.

Eligible businesses and events that agree to require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test will be exempt from other public health restrictions being brought in on Sept. 20.

Sept. 16, 2021

At least eight post-secondary schools in Alberta temporarily cancel in-person classes as they work to adapt to a new range of provincial COVID-19 health restrictions.

Richie Assaly is a Toronto-based digital producer for the Star. Reach him via email: rassaly@thestar.ca