The Fort McMurray area, which has been beneath a COVID-19 watch since final week, won’t be bringing in a compulsory masks bylaw this month, after regional council opted to delay a 3rd studying of the bylaw.
Regional Municipality of Wooden Buffalo (RMWB) council handed a second studying of the bylaw 6-Four Tuesday, however a movement for consideration of third studying didn’t go unanimously, so the bylaw will not be voted on till Oct. 13.
Coun. Sheila Lalonde was the one one to vote towards the movement.
“I do not suppose we’re certified to make this bylaw,” Lalonde stated on the assembly, noting that obligatory masks should not required beneath steerage from Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of well being or Canada’s Chief Public Well being Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
RMWB council acquired greater than 100 written submissions on the proposed bylaw, with the overwhelming majority being towards making face coverings obligatory.
The RMWB has been beneath a COVID-19 watch standing since Sept. 8, because it at present has greater than 50 lively instances per 100,000 individuals, a price of 65.1. In line with provincial COVID-19 information, there are at present 50 lively instances in Fort McMurray and one other 4 within the surrounding space of the RMWB.
The area at present has 4 outbreaks at oilsands websites, although many of the instances are recovered.
The outbreaks are on the Syncrude Mildred Lake web site, Syncrude Aurora web site, CNRL AlbianSands and the Suncor Base plant. As of Tuesday afternoon, the instances numbers are:
• Suncor base plant, Fort McMurray – Outbreak opened on Aug. 31 – 1 lively case, Eight recovered.
• Syncrude Mildred Lake web site, Fort McMurray – Outbreak opened on Sept. 1 – 7 lively, 16 recovered.
• Syncrude Aurora web site, Fort McMurray – Outbreak opened on Sept. 11 – zero lively instances, 5 recovered.
• CNRL Albian Sands web site, Fort Mackay – Outbreak opened on Aug. 9 – zero lively instances, 7 recovered.
Syncrude, which has seen the most important of the current COVID-19 oilsands outbreaks at its Mildred Lake web site, helps the obligatory masks bylaw.
“The rationale we’re supportive of that’s that many of the instances involving our workforce concerned group transmission, that is what our investigations point out,” Syncrude spokesperson Will Gibson informed Carihargater Tuesday.
Syncrude is dedicated to conserving its employees secure, Gibson added and the corporate already requires masking on web site, in addition to different well being measures like bodily distancing and handwashing.
Many cities in Alberta have already got obligatory masks bylaws, together with Edmonton, Calgary, Canmore and Lethbridge.
Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious ailments specialist and affiliate professor of microbiology and immunology on the College of Alberta in Edmonton, famous that though masks bylaws have gotten extra widespread, there may be debate about how efficient they’re.
“I feel if the information had been crystal clear, there can be a public health-based obligatory masks order that was nationwide, however as a result of the information is, I feel, nonetheless considerably controversial, you see a wide range of issues occurring,” she stated. “And I do suppose most individuals agree that in the event you’re in a setting the place there may be elevated transmission danger, I feel that will increase the curiosity within the obligatory masks bylaw. It’s not but clear how efficient that’s.”
Saxinger stated that masking is not very efficient if individuals fail to observe different public well being steerage like bodily distancing and handwashing.
Saxinger famous that Fort McMurray has a youthful inhabitants and lots of employees who’re travelling, which could be a problem for decreasing group transmission.
“It is an fascinating group as a result of along with being fairly transient, it is also fairly younger and that is typically a troublesome demographic when it comes to managing the contact numbers,” she stated. “It is also a demographic the place it would not appear as severe to individuals, as a result of there are a lot much less more likely to get considerably unwell.
“The one challenge is that often after you have had a specific amount of group transmission for some time within the youthful, more healthy individuals … ultimately it does begin spilling over into extra susceptible teams in the neighborhood.”