On Thursday, the province began the first phase of its recovery plan, allowing retail stores, hair salons, museums, daycares and day camps to open, with restrictions, and diners to return in restaurants and cafes, with a capacity limited to 50%.
With more people leaving their homes to shop or dine, the province may well see an increase in the daily number of new cases, said Deena Hinshaw at a press conference on Thursday.
Although the full incubation period for the coronavirus is 14 days, Alberta could see an increased number of cases within five to seven days after the reopening of many businesses, said Hinshaw.
“So I think by the end of next week, we should have a reasonable idea if we’re going to see a sudden and sharp increase,” she said.
“But the more we can all follow advice, keep our distance, wear masks and wash our hands, the less we will suddenly see peaks and increase the cases.” “
“So what I hope is that we will see cases, that they might increase a little, but that we will be able, through our collective actions, to keep these numbers relatively stable. It would be my hope. “
Masks can help limit exposure
With Phase 1 of Alberta’s revival underway, COVID-19 restrictions put in place a few weeks ago have been lifted and the doors of many Alberta businesses have reopened, although some restrictions remain in Calgary and Brooks.
“Companies that are starting to reopen do not mean they are returning to normal,” said Hinshaw. “We will have to support each other in health and safety by practicing physical distance, frequent hand washing and other measures. It will not change and this is our new standard. “
As more and more people congregate in stores and restaurants, shopping malls and museums, physical distance is not always possible, said Hinshaw.
“Wearing non-medical masks can help limit your exposure and protect those around you,” she said. “Remember that even if you feel well and have no signs of symptoms, you can still spread the virus to other people if you have been exposed.
Wearing a mask in public places is a useful measure to protect others, she said, and can prevent respiratory drops from contaminating surfaces and objects.
“Let me be clear, wearing a mask is not a substitute for other important measures,” said Hinshaw. “If you have symptoms related to COVID, you should always isolate them. Other measures, such as physical distance if possible, frequent hand washing and covering coughs or sneezes, are still essential.
“Consider masks as this last line of defense in case other measures are not possible. “
Hinshaw encouraged Albertans to consult online for tips on how to wear and care for non-medical masks, as well as instructions on how to make cloth masks.
“I strongly encourage you to review these guidelines and think about where you could adopt the use of masks in your daily activities. Take public transportation to and from work, or stock up on groceries.
The province will not order people to wear masks, she said.
“There are … risks if people don’t wear masks properly,” said Hinshaw, “so we have to think very carefully before we require them by law.” “
1 additional death reported Thursday
Alberta reported another death from COVID-19 and 50 new cases of the disease on Thursday.
The death, a resident of a continuing care facility in Calgary, brings the total number of deaths to 121.
There are 1,131 active cases in the province, while 5,205 people have recovered.
Labs have performed 4,816 tests in the past 24 hours, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, at a press conference held on the first day of the province’s phased recovery.
Thursday, 65 people were hospitalized, including 10 in intensive care.
The distribution of cases by region on Thursday was as follows:
- Calgary area: 915 active cases, 3,414 recovered
- South zone: 113 active cases, 1,053 recovered
- Edmonton area: 63 active cases, 441 recovered.
- North zone: 20 active cases, 193 recovered.
- Central area: 11 active cases, 88 recovered.
- Unknown: 9 active cases, 19 recovered.