Signs have been placed along pathways and in parks around Lethbridge to remind people about social distancing. Photo credit to MyLethbridgeNow.com (Pat Siedlecki)
The City of Lethbridge continues to do everything it can to try and curb the spread of the novel cornavirus.
During a local update on the pandemic response on Thursday (Apr. 9), City Manager Jodi Meli said a number of different things were being done around the community to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.
“With respect to parks we continue to provide information to residents on the use of our parks and pathways to encourage appropriate social distancing,” says Meli. “Our staff have been putting up signage, we are helping to educate residents on some new regulations, so please understand the rules and abide by them so we can all continue to enjoy outdoor spaces.”
Meli notes if anyone has been in a City of Lethbridge park lately you may have noticed some different things, one being the garbage cans. A decision has been made to have the lids propped open so people don’t have to touch the garbage cans or handles to put something in them.
She also says several of the city’s pedestrian crossings are now automated. “There are signs letting you know that you don’t need to push the button. The walk light will turn on automatically, but in places where we don’t have automation we are asking pedestrians to please use their elbow rather than their hand to push the button.”
All these measures being put in place, Meli says, are to eliminate the touching of surfaces so people can continue to safely enjoy going out in the community.
Meli also some additional changes will also becoming in the next few days. “Things like implementing one-way travel around some of our lakes where it makes sense where there are loops and some of the off-leash areas to ensure there is that social and physical distancing.”
On Thursday, the City announced it was extending the current State of Local Emergency for another 90 days. That will continue to give municipal officials the tools they need to fight the pandemic on a local level.
It was also announced by the City late Thursday that golf courses in Lethbridge would not be allow to open to the public at the moment after that recommendation came down from the province’s Chief Public Health Officer. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says workers would be allowed to get courses ready around the province, but in order to continue with proper social distancing measures, they would not be allowed to open for public use at this time.
Out of all of Alberta’s major cities, Lethbridge has by far the lowest COVID-19 numbers and officials here would like to keep it that way. Director of Emergency Management, Deputy Fire Chief Greg Adair, says Alberta Health Services continues to test people across the province, noting one of those testing sights is in Lethbridge.
As of Thursday, Lethbridge had only 9 confirmed cases of the virus. Data shows 4 are considered “active” cases and 5 people in the city had since recovered. Comparing that with other similar Alberta cities, Medicine Hat has 10 cases and Red Deer with 32.
“Certainly the citizens of Lethbridge have been very good at adhering to the social distancing,” says Adair. “Speaking to AHS they’ve talked about out numbers in the South Zone and they believe a lot of those numbers are due to travelling. Therefore, there is an assumption that less travel component affects the numbers.”
South Zone Medical Health Officer, Dr. Lizette Elimur this week telling our radio station the low numbers in southern Alberta are good to see, however she cautions people here not to get complacent or a false sense of security that because of that everything is okay. She stressed as difficult as all these public health measures put in place are for people, this is about protecting every single Albertan no matter where we live in the province.