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Canada AHS has received nearly 4,000 COVID-19 complaints, police not issuing tickets yet

10:15  31 march  2020
10:15  31 march  2020 Source:   globalnews.ca

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Alberta Health Services said Monday that it has received thousands of complaints related to COVID-19 since late January.

AHS said in total, it has taken 3,930 coronavirus-related complaints and service requests, with the first one coming in on Jan. 27, one week before the province had its first presumptive case of the virus. 

READ MORE: Alberta’s top doctor says province has 5 new deaths tied to COVID-19

Of the total, 1,876 were submitted through the online portal, and the rest were submitted by phone or email, said Kerry Williamson, the executive director of issues management for AHS.

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There were 438 complaints related to self-isolation.

Williamson said in an email to Global News that the complaints were mainly related to facilities that should be closed, or are not following controls, social distancing and self-isolation rules.

AHS has issued seven COVID-19-related compliance orders, the details of which will be posted on its website. Williamson said that six of the seven orders were given to health gyms around the province.

AHS is investigating complaints and offering guidance, said Williamson, and enforces chief medical officer of health orders where necessary.

He added that if someone is refusing to self-isolate, AHS works with law enforcement to follow up.

No tickets yet: police

However, despite an announcement of new enforcement rules last week from Premier Jason Kenney, both the Calgary Police Service and Edmonton Police Service said Monday that neither force had begun issuing tickets.

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READ MORE: Alberta ramping up enforcement of public health orders; number of confirmed COVID-19 cases climbs to 419

An Edmonton police spokesperson said officers had responded to "a few" public complaints involving groups of people larger than 15, but only in an advisory and educational capacity.

Edmonton police said the specifics of the police role in enforcement were still being finalized.

Calgary police said that officers there were also focused only on education and voluntary compliance.

Kenney said last Wednesday that the government had made amendments to the procedures regulation under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, to give community peace officers and police officers the authority to issue tickets to people violating public health orders.

Kenney had said fines for violating an order could be as much as $1,000 per offence while courts will also be able to levy fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for “more serious violations.”

However, he also said that eventually he would like to see his government make such enforcement provisions permanent through legislation tabled in the Alberta legislature.

READ MORE: Alberta MLAs to be called back to legislature Tuesday to debate COVID-19 legislation

Alberta MLA's are set to return to the legislature Tuesday morning to debate legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. House Leader Jason Nixon is set to make an announcement at 10:15 a.m. MT.

--With files from Global News' Phil Heidenreich

Apparent COVID-19 food licking prank gets southern Alberta man arrested .
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