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Mayor Gerald Aalbers emphasizes serious nature of COVID-19 and need for social distancing

Mayor Gerald Aalbers is calling on the community’s cooperation to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He asks residents to stay home if they are feeling ill, practicing social distancing and take the situation seriously.

“I know it’s tough for the folks that don’t get out very often and look forward to those opportunities to go to the mall for a coffee. You’ve got to persevere just like the rest of us.” 

Aalbers reiterates the importance of following health authority recommendations of self-isolating, keeping social distancing and following proper hygiene directions.

“It’s very difficult, I understand that, but we need to get through this and the best way to do that is with people’s cooperation.”

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He recommends families to get together and connect with each other during this time. Aalbers also thanks volunteers in the community helping those in self-isolation but reminds them to take the necessary precautions before engaging in volunteer activities.

“The story I heard was people showing up to the Pioneer Lodge to shovel trails to residents’ windows so their families could reach them through the window, wave and have some communication,” he says.

“This community has done it time after time and stepped up when it’s called and thank you to the volunteers.”

City Update

On March 23, the Alberta government announced a freeze on education property tax as well as defer the tax for six months for businesses. Emergency Management Operations Manager Jordan Newton says the city is examining the impacts of the announcement on non-residential education requisitions.

When asked if the city would crack down on those not following social distancing protocols, Newton says they will work with the RCMP to monitor them if needed.

“The City of Lloydminster will continue to work on educational resources for our community and give advice to businesses that are still open. If it comes to it, the City of Lloydminster will be working in conjunction with the Lloydminster RCMP detachment to monitor any enforcement actions needed.”

In terms of providing extra help to health care workers in the city, Newton says they haven’t been called upon yet but will be able to when the time comes.

“We are in regular contact with our local health authorities if and when we are called upon we will evaluate the situation and offer assistance.”

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In response to posts on social media from someone claiming to have COVID-19, Newton points to the health authorities for more information.

“The health authority is tracking the numbers of presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19 within their respective regions and provinces. We direct any health related questions to the appropriate authorities.”

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says they cannot provide information on specific locations of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 to protect patient confidentiality.

Lloydminster is a part of the Saskatchewan Central region which has 8 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The region does not include Saskatoon. It is also a part of the Alberta Central region which has three cases confirmed in Vermilion River County.

More than 32,000 tests have been done in Alberta and in Saskatchewan more than 5,700 tests were performed by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory.

EDIT: A third case was found in Vermilion River County. The previous version of the article was using numbers from earlier in the day. Also added was the number of tests done in both provinces.

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