Alberta reports 239 new COVID-19 cases, but no new deaths

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Alberta reported 239 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, a higher than usual number which Premier Jason Kenney said represented an increase in the number of tests the province has performed.

The total number of cases in the province is now 2,397, of which 400 are said to have been transmitted within the communities.

The province has completed 3,831 tests in the past 24 hours, Kenney said, far more than the average of 1,974 tests per day seen since March 4.

In total, the province performed 89,144 tests.

No new deaths were reported on Friday. Sixty people are hospitalized, including 13 in ICU. That’s an increase of about 10 from Thursday, said Kenney.

“We are far from the beaten track,” said Kenney, who noted that the number of hospitalizations so far has been lower than expected by models released earlier this month.

“I know we are getting more and more calls from the public to reopen everything immediately,” he said. “But as I said last week, doing it – letting the virus clear up – would force us to come back with an even tighter and more widespread lockdown that would have an even more devastating impact on our economy. “

“Continue to be disciplined”

Albertans should be proud of the way they have come together to fight the pandemic, said the Prime Minister.

“So, as we begin to plan the details of our recovery strategy, remember … the best way to reopen key aspects of our economy and get back to normal is to continue to be disciplined.

“It means for many of us to make sacrifices so that we can contain the spread. This will allow us as a cabinet, as a government, and I know that the Chief Medical Officer will allow us all to move faster with the reopening. ”

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said the province has further expanded its screening protocols to include certain asymptomatic people in areas where outbreaks have occurred. In this way, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the tests can help track the spread of the virus in parts of Alberta where the disease is already established.

Another reason for the recent increase in the number of cases can be attributed to an increase in the number of cases related to the Cargill meat packing plant in High River, said Hinshaw. There are now 358 cases linked to the outbreak, many of which are in households in surrounding communities such as Calgary.

“Current information suggests that the cases of this epidemic are mainly linked to household transmission,” she said.

“Alberta health services have established an epidemic response team to monitor the High River epidemic and prevent other infections in all areas of transmission.”

AHS takes charge of the nursing home

Hinshaw said Alberta health services will take over the administration of the Manoir Du Lac long-term care home in McLennan, Alberta, after public health officials determined that the protocols for ensuring safety and protection of residents were not followed.

Problems identified in the facility included insufficient staff and staff working very long hours, inadequate screening of staff with symptoms and inadequate screening of visitors, all of which are required by public health orders, said Hinshaw .

“The standards of care were inadequate, so standards of care for residents were not met and personal protective equipment was not used properly,” she said.

Twenty-six residents and 11 staff members tested positive for COVID-19, and five residents died from the disease in the long-term care facility.

“The health and safety of residents in our seniors’ care facilities is of the utmost importance,” said Hinshaw, “and these measures are taken to ensure that residents receive the care they need.” “

The regional distribution of the number of cases is as follows:

  • Calgary Zone: 1,673
  • Edmonton area: 429
  • Central area: 77
  • North zone: 135
  • South zone: 68
  • Unknown: 15

Expanded tests in healthcare facilities

Thirty-two of the 50 deaths were residents of long-term care or continuing care homes, said Hinshaw.

“I know that people who have relatives in long-term and continuing care facilities are concerned about the risk of infection at these sites,” said Hinshaw. “I am too. It is not acceptable that elderly Albertans are endangered in a place where their health is supposed to be protected.

“We have implemented strict measures to limit the spread of infection in these establishments. We have to do more. That’s why I’m working with the Alberta Health Service to expand testing in continuing care facility units that have seen outbreaks to date. include asymptomatic residents and staff.

These expanded tests will give public health officials a better chance of quickly identifying new cases.

“Since we now know that people who may be infected with COVID-19 can potentially spread the disease before they develop symptoms, testing more residents and staff in continuing care facilities will help us prevent new infections and death.

No COVID-19 press conference will take place on Saturday or Sunday, although updates will be provided through daily online statistics and status reports.

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