Dr Deena Hinsha warned Monday that rising COVID-19 cases in the city of Edmonton could lead the province to take additional measures to reduce the level of transmission.
“A large number of cases were reported over the weekend in Edmonton,” Hinsha, the provincial health medical officer, told a news conference.
“The number of cases in Edmonton rose to 1.3 last week and the number of active cases rose to 894. We are taking this seriously and are closely examining the causes or reasons for this increase that we are seeing.
“Through dialogue with local public health and the city, we are deciding whether to recommend additional measures in the city to reduce transmission.”
According to provincial data, between September 28 and October 4, 714 new cases were reported in the Edmonton zone, including 502 new cases in all other zones.
Hinsha said the number of cases would continue to rise, even with the new measures.
“I want to emphasize one thing I have done before, which is that the new cases we are looking at right now are a reflection of the broadcast events that took place one to two weeks ago,” she said.
“So we should expect that in the coming days we will not make any changes or pick from the weeks … We will see a large number of cases in the next one to two weeks, which is a product of the last broadcast.”
On Monday, the province reported another eight deaths and 578 new cases of the disease due to COVID-19 in the past three days.
The province recorded 97 cases on Friday, 263 on Saturday and 218 on Sunday.
Sick? Stay at home, Hinsha asked
One factor that leads to the number of climbs in the city is that some Edmontonians – 11 percent of active cases – attend work or social gatherings while still waiting for pathological and test results.
“This is a significant risk and one of the factors contributing to the increase in our case number,” she said. “I want to be clear, if you are sick, you should stay home.
“If you’ll be sick, you should not go to any social gatherings, which include the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.”
While the province tests thousands of people a day and returns results faster than ever, she said all of this is nothing if those with symptoms continue to go out.
“It’s on the system of bargaining to give us results as quickly as possible. But on the side of our bargain, like the Albertans, it’s fundamental to stay home while sick while waiting for results,” she said.
“We can not prevent a second wave or limit the spread of COVID in Alberta if we do not take these basic steps.”
The province now has 1,783 active cases, 225 more than on Friday, and 280 deaths.
The hospital had 62 people with COVID-19 and 14 were in intensive care.
Regional breakdown of active cases:
- Edmonton Zone: 982 cases, Friday 835 cases.
- Calgary Zone: 624 cases, 568 cases.
- North Zone: 105 cases, one case from Friday.
- South Zone: 47 cases, 31 cases.
- Central Zone: 22 cases, 19 cases.
- Unknown: Three cases, from one case.
Deaths of 8 seniors
Of the deaths reported Monday, two seniors were not in continuous care – a man in his 80s and a woman in the Edmonton zone in his 70s.
The deaths of a man in his 90s and a woman in his 70s spread at the Extendicare Ecclair in Edmonton.
One woman in her 90s and another woman in her 60s died at the Millwoods Shepherd Care Center in the Edmonton Zone.
The other two deaths were related to the spread of Calgary’s Foothills Medical Center: one person from the South Zone in the 60s and one person from the Calgary Zone in the 80s.
As of Monday, there were 65 outbreaks in Alberta schools. Ten schools with five or more cases are under consideration.
‘Not the usual Thanksgiving’
Hinsha asked the Alberts to reconsider the Thanksgiving celebrations.
“I sympathize with the desire to be with the people we love the most and celebrate everything we have to be grateful for. However, this is not the usual Thanksgiving,” she said.
“I urge you to limit your meetings to your home and fellow members only. You should keep the meetings as small as possible, eating outdoors if possible and not sharing spoons or dishes to serve.”
She said anyone with a slight illness should stay away from the celebrations.
“Thanksgiving dinner COVID is a great tragedy to spread to our loved ones, to become potentially with serious consequences.
“We thank them for protecting each other, without taking chances.”