The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
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Public health measures extended to Jan. 21
By Brittany Willsie 
Staff Reporter 

As of press time Monday evening, the Clearwater County zone, which includes Rocky Mountain House and Caroline, had 71 active COVID-19 cases. 
To date, there have been a total of 230 cases in the county, 159 of which have recovered. There have been no recorded deaths for the area. 
At 71 active cases, the case rate for Clearwater County is 349.7. This rate is calculated per 100,000 people. 
For perspective, Calgary’s case rate is 308.8, with 4,162 active cases in a population of 1,347,732. 
Before public health measures were made province wide, the case rates were used to determine if a municipality needed stronger public health measures. 
Province-wide restrictions, which were previously in place until at least Jan. 12, have now been extended. These restrictions, including a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings, masking and business closures, are now in place until at least Jan. 21, at which point the province will review the necessity of measures. 
Premier Jason Kenney announced the extended measures during a Jan. 7 live stream, stating that cases in Alberta still remain too high. 
“In order to ensure that we take into account the very real possibility of an increase in cases as a result of the holidays, and given the fact that our case numbers, hospitalizations and positivity rate for testing remains high, Alberta’s current health measures will remain in effect for at least two more weeks,” he said. 
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said the province is still averaging well over 1,000 new cases daily. 
“This is lower than the 1,877 detected on Dec. 7, but it is still too high,” said Hinshaw. 
“Currently, there are more than 13,000 active cases in the province. This is, again, a decrease from Dec. 13, when there were more than 21,000 confirmed cases in the province, but it is still a far cry from the 1,000 to 2,000 active cases we had throughout the summer and early fall.” 
Students return to school 
Schools were still permitted to return to in-class learning Monday, as previously planned. 
During the Jan. 7 announcement, Kenney stated that the decision to return to in-class learning was based on “the importance of attending school in person, as well as the latest evidence of cases dropping in all school-related age groups in December.”
“Schools play a key role in supporting student learning, as well as their emotional health, mental health and overall well-being,” he said. 
Kenney expanded on that statement, expressing the importance of interactions with teachers and peers on the well-being of students. 
To address concerns about returning to school, Kenney reported that between September and the winter break only 0.4 per cent of students and school staff tested positive for COVID-19.