After several weeks of consistently increasing COVID-19 infections in Alberta, new daily case numbers have started to plateau in recent days, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet when it comes to the second wave of the pandemic.
Since late November, the province broke record after record when it came to daily case counts, but since confirming 1,887 new infections on Dec. 14, the trend has turned downward slightly with numbers as low as 1,270 later this week, though that doesn’t mean Alberta is bending the curve.
Dr. Stephanie Smith said it’s “a bit too soon” to know if the dips are a result of new, strict health measures.
“Given the amount of community transmission that we’ve seen in the province — but especially in Edmonton and to a degree in Calgary — I think it is going to take a bit more time before we would really see the impact of those restrictions more on a sustained basis,” the associate professor in the University of Alberta’s faculty of medicine said.
Smith said while it’s encouraging to see cases dipped over a 48-hour period, the increase back up to 1,571 new infections on Thursday shows Albertans shouldn’t rely on a brief decline as evidence the situation as a whole is improving.
“Hopefully people are adhering to the restrictions. And I think that we’re all hopeful that those will actually result in a decrease in community spread and therefore decreasing hospital admissions, et cetera,” she said. “But it is a bit early to say.
“We really do need to kind of push on with the messaging that we all really need to do our part in terms of trying to stay home and not socialize.”
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Monday that while cases and the province’s R-value — or rate of transmission — appeared to be plateauing over the week, it’s “not enough” to show a trend.