Smoky region raises COVID-19 measures

Richard Froese

South Peace News

Residents in the Smoky River region are being urged to take further steps to protect themselves during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Smoky Region Emergency Services released an update April 15 on municipal websites.

The M.D. of Smoky River, the Town of Falher, the Town of McLennan, the Village of Donnelly and the Village of Girouxville, in co-ordination with the Smoky Region Emergency Services, are closely following the lead from the Province on the issue of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We would like to ensure clear and concise information is available,” says Marcel Maure, director of protective services for the region.

He advises people to be extra cautious.

“The Smoky River region, including the towns and villages within it, currently has a high number of active COVID-19 cases given the small population,” Maure says.

“This means community transmission is definitely possible.

“All persons need to continue to stay at home as much as possible, limit interaction with others and stay at least six feet away from other people.”

He says Alberta continues to do an excellent job of testing and has expanded the criteria for who may be tested.

Testing is now available to any person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.

Area businesses have been directed to limit the number of people within their premises to allow for proper physical distancing.

“Please respect staff’s direction and requests, these restrictions are in place to protect everyone,” Maure says.

Current restrictions in Alberta include:

-Planned gatherings with more than 15 people must be cancelled.

Gatherings of fewer than 15 people whether inside or outside must maintain six-feet social distancing.

-Mandatory 14-day self-isolation for returning international travellers or close contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19.

-Mandatory 10-day self-isolation for people with symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.

-If you, or a person you are responsible for, experiences COVID-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days.

-Take the COVID-19 self-assessment online and follow the instructions.

Alberta has expanded the criteria for who may be tested – do the self-assessment, there is no need to call 811.

Visit the website

To protect yourself and to help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19, as well as the flu and common cold:

-Wash your hands often and well, use sanitizer whenever possible.

-Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

-Avoid any contact with people who are sick.

-Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

-Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.

-Cover your cough and sneezes and then wash your hands.

-Avoid unnecessary contact; bump elbows instead of hugging, bumping fists or shaking hands.

-If you must go out in public, keep your distance – stay six feet away from other people.

The main reason for these restrictions is to slow the spread of COVID-19, the message states.

By slowing the spread it means fewer people will be sick and require treatment at the same time.

“Our health care system and professionals could easily become overwhelmed if too many people become sick all at once,” the message states.

Even a person who feels healthy with no symptoms can be a carrier and be spreading COVID-19.

That is why physical distancing, avoiding crowds and avoiding any unnecessary contact is so important.

Do your part, stay home if you do not need to be out.

Do not go to stores unnecessarily.

Let those who have to go have their space.

Work from home if that is an option.

Slow the spread, flatten the curve.

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