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Last updateThu, 06 May 2021 1pm

Local group protests COVID restrictions

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A small but vocal group of protesters were out on Wednesday, April 21, expressing their displeasure with the lockdowns.
A group of about seven protesters was on South Railway Avenue, waving signs to passing traffic.
“We’re sick of the lockdown,” Darcy Graham told the Mail. “There is an over 99 per cent recovery rate. Unless you have obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and you’re under 65 you are going to most likely recover from this.”
It is not only COVID-19 restrictions but how they are applied. “We’re locked to the nines, we’re sick of it. You can’t travel, can’t gather, we can barely go to church, but you are allowed to sit on airplane row-by-row, person-to-person, so the rules are very inconsistent,” said Graham.
Elaine Funk was protesting on her own on Tuesday afternoon, but she contacted Graham, who put a call out to like-minded residents.
“I think our freedoms are being eroded under the guise of protection. We’re all going to be affected sometime, and I am going to stand today. Maybe you think you don’t need it, but I think you need your freedom,” said Funk.
She feels the media helps to create fear, and people shouldn’t be surprised there are variants.
“The more you know, the less you fear,” she said.


New COVID variant identified in province

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A new variant of the COVID-19 virus has been identified in Alberta according to the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw during her regular COVID update on Thursday, April 22.
The first case of the B.1.617 variant, first identified in Denmark, was confirmed in the province; this particular variant has been responsible for the rapid spread of cases recently seen in India.
“This variant (resulted from) a returning interprovincial traveller to Alberta, and no additional cases of this variant have been detected to date,” Dr. Hinshaw said during the update. “As with all new variants, research is underway to understand what may be different about the B.1.617 variant, how it spreads, and if it creates more severe illness.”
Across the province, variants of concern have steadily risen.
The Mail reported in its April 21 edition variants of concern accounted for more than 54 per cent of all active COVID-19 cases; as of Monday, April 26, variants of concern now account for 64 per cent of all active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
In the Central Health Zone, which includes the Town of Drumheller, a total of 2,796 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed to be a variant of concern-1,458 of these are currently active. Further geographic breakdown of variant cases is not available.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Monday, April 26 restrictions for long-term and continuing care facilities would be relaxed beginning on Monday, May 10. The easing of restrictions will increase family or designated support persons from two to four people. Facilities will also be permitted to hold indoor social visits with up to four visitors, and outdoor social visits up to 10 people, which is double the current provincial limit.
While restrictions on long-term and continuing care will ease, all other provincial measures remain in place at this time.
As of Monday, April 26 there are 20 active and 406 recovered cases for the Town of Drumheller; this includes two active and 179 recovered cases at the Drumheller Institution.
In the surrounding areas, there are seven active cases in Starland County, 43 active cases in Kneehill County, and 19 active cases in Wheatland County.

Swinging bridge remains closed

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The Starmine Suspension bridge in Rosedale is not expected to reopen for the 2021 tourism season due to safety concerns surrounding the structural supports.
A bridge inspection was carried out in March 2020, which identified a significant amount of wood rot on the north shore bridge support deeming it unsafe.
The land on the north shore of the Starmine Suspension Bridge is located on was privately owned, which previously required land use agreements with the landowners and other respective parties in order to perform inspections and maintenance work.
The Town of Drumheller has been working with Alberta Transportation and the property owners and have successfully concluded land transfer negotiations for this parcel of land. This will allow the Town of Drumheller and Alberta Transportation to perform regular maintenance on the bridge, as required.
Before the land transfer is complete, Alberta Lands must complete an indigenous consultation. This has not happened yet, and until it does, the Town of Drumheller and Alberta Transportation cannot access the area to perform the work.
Meanwhile, conceptual designs for the repair have been provided by engineers, and the scope of work is underway in preparation for when Alberta Lands completes the consultation.


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