Alberta to keep COVID-19 testing past Sept. 27

The Alberta government has decided to continue testing for COVID-19 past Sept. 27 as the fourth wave continues to grow across the province.

On July 28, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced a series of changes to Alberta's testing and isolation rules that would have ended widespread COVID-19 testing by Aug. 30.

After two weeks that saw Hinshaw apologize for the way she communicated the changes in an op-ed, as well as several protests and criticism toward the province, she reversed part of her decision on Aug. 13 and kept symptomatic testing until at least Sept. 27.

As of Friday, Sept. 3, Alberta had 13,495 active cases and 515 patients with COVID-19 in hospital, including 118 in ICU.

Four-hundred of the 515 people in hospital, or 78 per cent, have not received one dose of the vaccine.

With mounting cases and hospitalizations, and a slow vaccine uptick, Alberta has decided to continue to test for COVID-19 past its Sept. 27 deadline.

Alberta Health Director Chris Bourdeau told CTV News tests will remain available for people with COVID-19 symptoms, as well as workers and residents at specific outbreak sites.

Last Friday, Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Hinshaw gave their first press conferences in weeks and announced some new restrictions, including masking in indoor spaces across the province, and an incentive of $100 for people to get vaccinated.

The province will report four days worth of COVID-19 data on Tuesday.