Red Deer city council will hold a special meeting Monday to consider stronger measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)

Red Deerian who tested positive for COVID favours city mask bylaw

A Red Deer woman who recently tested positive for COVID-19 says the city needs a mandatory mask bylaw.

Angie Czynski was nearing the end of her self-isolation period at home earlier this week.

In the woman’s mind, a mandatory mask bylaw for all indoor public spaces is a no-brainer.

“I wear a mask to protect you. I don’t wear a mask to protect me. I’m controlling what I can spread by wearing a mask.

“I think it’s absolutely unconscionable they’re not mandatory. It’s the science and it’s clear, and to me, there is no argument,” she said, adding a bylaw is needed especially now, with the number of active cases increasing in the province, as well as in the central zone and the City of Red Deer.

The decision to implement a mandatory mask bylaw for all indoor public spaces has been left to municipalities in Alberta.

This week, city council discussed the local COVID-19 response and voted to hold a special meeting this coming Monday to consider stronger health measures.

Czynski said her virus symptoms weren’t severe – a bit of sneezing, a runny nose, a slight decrease in energy levels and a sinus ache that lasted for about eight days. The ache was mild, but noticeable, she said.

“Honestly, if I didn’t know that we were in a pandemic, I probably would’ve continued going to work. My experience has been incredibly easy.”

But she understands there are people who have severe symptoms, such as seniors.

“I worry for our health-care system,” she said.

“The vulnerable population needs to be able to access the best services our health-care system can provide. It means we have to maintain a slow, regular rate of infection.

“It’s not about not getting infected, it’s about keeping that rate level, so that when someone needs hospital care or medical intervention, it’ll be available to them.

“We need to be respectful of our health-care system and our health-care workers, so our system isn’t overloaded with the severe cases as cases do increase.”

On Monday afternoon, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, said she is concerned about the increasing number of active cases and hospitalizations.

On Friday, Premier Jason Kenney expanded a 15-person limit on social gatherings, which now applies to every community on the government’s watch or enhanced measures list, which includes Red Deer, Ponoka County, the Town of Sylvan Lake and the City of Wetaskiwin.

“It generally takes one to two weeks to see the impacts of new measures like the ones that Alberta announced on Friday,” Hinshaw said.

“However, the rate of increase and rise of hospitalizations are extremely concerning to me. We’re assessing measures closely. If needed, we do not need to wait 14 days before recommending additional measures.”

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