All Alberta teachers and school staff should be tested for COVID-19, reputable doctor says

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All teachers and school staff in Alberta are expected to be tested for COVID-19 before schools reopen to students in about three weeks, according to the province’s top doctor.Dr Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, has encouraged around 90,000 teachers and school staff to arrange for voluntary testing at least once before class resumes and regularly throughout the school year. school year.

“In addition to the most critical tests of anyone with symptoms, I recommend that all teachers and school staff be tested once before school starts in September, and regularly throughout the year,” Hinshaw said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s completely voluntary. However, asymptomatic testing of school staff will help us with a basic understanding for back to school and ultimately help us monitor even more closely for the virus in the coming year. ”

Hinshaw said his recommendation came with a caveat: given that there are approximately 90,000 school staff and teachers in Alberta, the province’s testing capacity would not be able to collect. and process as many tests at the same time.

“I ask teachers and education staff to organize testing proactively,” she said. “Don’t wait until the day before you return to school. ”

More information will be shared through principals in the coming days, she said.

Active cases are increasing

The province reported another COVID-19-related death and 121 new cases of the disease on Wednesday.

The latest update released by Alberta Health found 1,044 active cases in the province, up 40 from the previous day.

The most recent death was a resident of the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Center in Edmonton, bringing the facility’s total to 29.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Alberta has, for the most part, declined slowly over the past two weeks, according to data collected by Alberta Health.

Here is a daily breakdown of the total active cases:

  • July 28, 1,404 active cases.
  • July 29, 1,389 active cases.
  • July 30, 1365 active cases.
  • July 31, 1312 active cases.
  • August 1, 1269 active cases.
  • August 2, 1,284 active cases.
  • August 3, 1,183 active cases.
  • August 4, 1,142 active cases.
  • August 5, 1,107 active cases.
  • August 6, 1,126 active cases.
  • August 7, 1067 active cases.
  • August 8, 1095 active cases.
  • August 9, 1094 active cases.
  • August 10, 1,004 active cases.
  • August 11, 1,044 active cases.

The regional distribution of active cases on Wednesday was:

  • Zone d’Edmonton: 470.
  • Calgary area: 312.
  • North Zone: 111.
  • Central areas: 92.
  • South zone: 55.
  • Unknown: four.

Since the pandemic began in early March, the province has confirmed 11,893 cases of the disease.

As of Wednesday, 217 people had died and 10,632 had recovered.

A total of 785,361 tests were performed.

1 in 7 Albertans tested

Hinshaw said testing is a powerful tool helping the province limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect people from infection.

“One in seven Albertans has now been tested at least once, and this is a significant achievement for our province,” she said. “Our labs have come a long way since being diagnosed with COVID-19 for the first time in Alberta. We have always had the most open testing approach in Canada.

Laboratories across the province have performed more than 316,000 surveillance tests on people who either had no symptoms and were not part of an outbreak or were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, she said .

Only 0.1% of these tests were positive, meaning that 99.9% of asymptomatic tests were negative.

“It’s encouraging,” Hinshaw said. “This shows that large-scale asymptomatic testing is not primarily useful in identifying large numbers of new cases. However, they can help us track the spread of the virus in Alberta, making our public health response easier. “

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