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State of Local Emergency ends as homeless shelter returns to 2 Ave. N.

​After 13 weeks, the City of Lethbridge has ended the State of Local Emergency (SOL) put in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SOL was declared on March 18, 2020 as a way to help access resources from other levels of government, particularly for Lethbridge's vulnerable populations, and ended Thursday, June 18, 2020. 

"I am happy to report that as of Wednesday, June 17, the homeless shelter has returned to 2 Ave. N. from its temporary location at the Fritz Sick gymnasium," says Marc Rathwell, Director of Emergency Management for the City of Lethbridge. "With this change, we felt confident in ending the State of Local Emergency for Lethbridge."

In late March, the City's Emergency Management Agency made the decision to convert the Fritz Sick gymnasium into a temporary homeless shelter.  This provided the physical space needed for individuals to follow Alberta Health's recommended physical distancing guidelines.

While the primary shelter was being housed at Fritz Sick, the shelter on 2 Ave N was used as an intox (safe sobering) facility. Significant renovations were also made to the facility during the last few months to create a space that is more conducive to physical distancing.

With declining COVID-19 numbers and a newly renovated space to safely support the homeless population, our Emergency Coordination Centre felt it was safe for individuals to return to the homeless shelter.

Security staff will remain onsite at the Fritz Sick through the evening of June 18 to ensure a safe transition back to the shelter.

"This is the longest State of Local Emergency that our city has ever seen but just because it's over, doesn't mean the crisis has passed," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "I want to commend all of the staff within the City, our partner organizations and our residents for their efforts over the last three months. As we continue to combat COVID-19 we will need this ongoing community support to continue moving forward."

With phase 2 of the Provincial Relaunch Strategy now underway, the Alberta Government is encouraging regular testing. Alberta is a world leader in testing, which is a key factor in our ability to relaunch safely.

Whether you have symptoms or not, all Albertan's are encouraged to get tested with an emphasis on those that have attended a Stage 2 activity or if they intend to interact with COVID vulnerable people. There is no constraint to the frequency that an individual can be tested. Testing data helps government and public health officials make decisions, particularly as they relate to Alberta's relaunch strategy.

For more information on testing and symptoms, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-testing-in-alberta.aspx.

Understanding how communities are affected by COVID-19, will help better address public health needs, and whether additional measures are required – or if existing measures can be lessened.

For more information on the City of Lethbridge's response to COVID-19 visit: www.lethbridge.ca/covid19.

 

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