Five more deaths, 297 new cases of COVID-19 while Alberta total exceeds 4,000


There have been five other deaths and 297 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, the province’s best doctor announced Friday.

It brings the total number of confirmed cases to 4,017, with a death toll of 72. Nearly 1,400 people have recovered from the disease and more than 114,000 people have been tested in the province.

Of the five deaths, three occurred in long-term care facilities, according to Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

Among the new cases, there are three COVID-19 infections in a First Nations community in the Calgary area, said Hinshaw. Infected individuals self-isolate.

Alberta health services are also investigating two new cases at the Mountain View poultry processing plant in Okotoks.

AHS has put in place supports for the plant to prevent the spread of the disease, she said.

Hinshaw was asked about the only COVID-19 outbreak in Edmonton at Kensington Long-Term Care, which has seen 29 COVID-19 cases and three deaths.

“This is absolutely a concern for us,” she said. “I want to remind people that, since the incubation period can be up to two weeks, we can see new cases in these facilities even after the implementation of control measures. “

She said that she heard the anger and disappointment of Albertans because clarifying the rules regarding physical distance and the limits of gatherings would apply to all summer festivals.

This was followed by another round of festival cancellations, including the Edmonton Heritage Festival and the Canada Day fireworks in Edmonton and Calgary. The highlights of the two cities, the Calgary Stampede and the K-Days, announced cancellations on Thursday.

Hinshaw acknowledged that recent modeling projections may have given the public the impression that infections will decrease over the summer.

“This is not the case,” she said. “The virus that causes COVID-19 will be with us for many months to come, and the relatively small number of cases we see in most provinces is the result of our collective efforts and sacrifices. “

She used the Edmonton Curling Bonspiel, which has allowed dozens of medical professionals, including doctors, to become infected as an example of how easily the virus spreads from one person.

“Of the 73 people who attended this event, 40 ended up with COVID-19,” she said. “We have had other social events where more than 80 percent of participants were infected, and the common theme in all of these events was that the source did not know they had COVID. “

Hinshaw also looked at the outbreaks at the Cargill meat processing plant near High River, where 480 workers were infected, and at JBS Foods in Brooks, where 124 people tested positive.

Cargill suspended operations while JBS Foods remained open with fewer changes and increased preventative measures.

Asked what it would take to shut down JBS, Hinshaw said, “We can’t look at a single job site regardless of what’s going on in the lives of the people who work there. “

She emphasized measures taken by the factory such as reducing the number of employees at a given time, physical distance and checking the symptoms.

Earlier, Hinshaw stressed the importance of supporting workers at the two plants.

“For example, people affected by the epidemic in High River, not everyone who works at Cargill is a close contact or a confirmed case. There is no reason to assume that everyone connected to this establishment is infected, “she said. “These people are not isolated, unless it is a confirmed case or close contact. “

She said these workers should not be prevented from going to grocery stores or banks.

“Those affected by this epidemic are experiencing many challenges, and they need support and compassion, as we strive to stop the spread,” she said. “The same is true for everyone working in continuing care centers with an epidemic, including health care workers.”

Hinshaw said the government will post case numbers of health care workers on its website starting next week. While these figures may give the impression that doctors and nurses are more at risk of spreading the virus, “it is not,” she said, as they take hygiene very seriously. and disinfection.


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