Alberta’s chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw explained why the province has been seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, now that they’re a week into Stage 2 and more than a month into Stage 1 of their reopening plan.
At the moment, they have 512 active cases in the province, compared to the 339 they had June 5. The increase has been the result of increased gatherings at work places and events such as funerals. For example, there are now 24 cases linked to two funerals in Alberta, and health officials are expecting more in the upcoming days, said Hinshaw.
It’s a shift compared to earlier phases of the pandemic, when the province was mainly seeing its cases in long-term care facility settings. Now, there are only 26 active cases in LTCs, and 708 recovered patients.
Alberta’s top doctor continued to remind people that COVID-19 is still present in the community. Everyone should wear masks when social distancing is not possible and practice safe hygiene.
Recently, 12 cases were identified in one apartment building, with officials believing that transmission most likely occurred through “common, high-touch surfaces.”
“This emphasizes the need for cleaning and disinfection of these surfaces,” said Hinshaw.
“Other key areas of risk are social gatherings like birthday parties and work meetings where distancing and masking are not in place.
“Indoor gatherings have a higher risk than outdoor gatherings,” she said. “Workplaces need to consider how they will ensure that distancing and masking, when needed, are firmly embedded in return to the workplace strategies.”
However, there are some positive signs for Alberta in its fight against COVID-19. Hospitalizations rates have gone down slightly in the past few weeks, while most of the active cases are from a known source, which has allowed health officials to track and stop the virus from spreading. In addition, they haven’t seen any outbreaks or significant transmission at any outdoor activities.
On Friday, Hinshaw announced 46 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, increasing the total case count to 7,625. No new fatalities were recorded in the past 24 hours, leaving the death toll at 152.
Of its total cases, there are 6,961 people who have recovered from the virus, an increase of 68 since Thursday’s update. Of the 512 active cases that remain, there are 233 in the Calgary zone and 211 in the Edmonton zone.
Hinshaw announced a new outbreak at Edmonton’s Material Recovery Waste Management Centre, where 10 works have tested positive. The facility is the city’s main recycling plant.
Of its active cases, 39 patients are in hospital (up by five), while there remains six in intensive care.
Since the start of the pandemic, health officials in Alberta have performed 373,724 tests for COVID-19.