Alberta once again shattered records on Thursday, with 1,854 new cases and a positive-test rate of 9.5 per cent.
The province has 17,743 active cases, with 511 people being treated in hospital for the illness, including 97 in ICU beds.
Another 14 deaths were reported on Thursday.
“I am very concerned about these numbers,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said Thursday at a news conference.
“No one should be watching these numbers to determine whether or not they need to change their behaviour. Behaviour needs to change, and that’s already a mandate. And what we need to do as we’re watching these numbers is determine whether or not there should be further changes.”
The regional breakdown of active cases on was:
Edmonton zone: 8,331
Calgary zone: 6,445
Central zone: 1,251
North zone: 991
South zone: 633
With case numbers rising in all parts of the province, Hinshaw addressed a portion of her news conference to people who live outside the two big cities.
“While infection rates in Edmonton and Calgary make up the majority of cases in the province, we are seeing increased spread in many rural communities,” she said. “COVID-19 is not a Calgary problem or an Edmonton problem. This is a provincial problem within the context of a global problem.
‘COVID-19 doesn’t care where you live’
Among the 15 geographic areas with the highest active case rates in Alberta, one-third of them are outside Calgary and Edmonton.
“We are also seeing growing outbreaks in the Central, North and South zones,” she said. “I know that many rural areas did not see widespread transmission in the spring or summer, and so it’s natural that some people living in those areas may feel safe from COVID, due to their smaller populations or distance from large urban centres.
“They may wonder why they should wear a mask or not host a party in their home. Unfortunately, our overall active case rates prove that COVID-19 doesn’t care where you live or what your postal code is. It only takes one case entering a community to cause significant spread.”