Alberta not facing ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 pandemic, top doctor says

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Alberta is not experiencing the dreaded second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and may not see a huge spike in the number of cases now that fall has begun, according to the province’s top doctor.The position expressed Thursday by the chief medical officer of the province contrasts sharply with a warning issued by the Prime Minister the day before.

Albertans who listened to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s televised speech on Wednesday learned that Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec were already experiencing wave two of the pandemic.

Trudeau told Canadians they had the power to control the size and scope of this second wave if they continued to wear masks, limit social interactions and follow other public health guidelines.

But Dr Deena Hinshaw said despite the increase in the number of daily cases in recent weeks, Alberta is not already in wave two.

“The concept of a second wave implies that we have no control or influence over the circulation of the virus,” Hinshaw said. “And I think there are certainly provinces that have themselves decided to start what they call a second wave.

“But in Alberta, I don’t think that’s where we are now. “

The daily number of cases is increasing

The province has seen an increase in the number of daily cases but these have remained relatively stable, she said.

“When I think of a second wave, I think of a really big spike in uncontrolled spread, and that’s not our only possible future. Our other possible futures are a stable and relatively slow burn of a constant number of cases over time, or maybe small ripples going up and down. ”

Like the premier, Hinshaw has said the future is entirely in the hands of Albertans, whose actions will dictate how the virus spreads.

Health officials have not seen any single factor that appears to be behind the majority of cases and therefore have not placed any additional restrictions, she said.

“Again, whether or not we have a steep and strong second wave is entirely in our hands, and we can prevent that without any further formal restrictions. ”

Since the province entered the second phase of relaunch in June, the online map has highlighted areas under COVID-19 surveillance, Hinshaw said, and so far no area has been large enough for move to the “improved” category.

If this were to happen in a particular location, the province could impose additional measures to prevent the spread in that area, as the return plan allows for a targeted approach if new or improved restrictions are needed.

If the spread became a concern and started to accelerate, public health officials could make a local decision on any further action that may be necessary, Hinshaw said.

Latest issues

Alberta added another COVID-19 death on Thursday and reported 158 new cases.

There were 1,462 active cases in the province, down 58 from the previous day.

The most recent death is a man in his 80s from the Calgary area.

The regional distribution of active cases was:

  • Edmonton area: 773, down 48 from the previous day.
  • Calgary area: 495, up 14 from the previous day.
  • North Zone: 130, down 25 from the previous day.
  • South Zone: 40, up two from the previous day.
  • Central zone: 19, a decrease from the previous day.
  • Unknown: five, unchanged from the previous day.

A total of 58 people were being treated in hospitals in Alberta for the disease, including 14 in intensive care beds.

Alberta Health Services confirmed on Wednesday that 13 schools that had received COVID-19 alerts had not had transmission, and that students and staff are now back in class, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province. press conference.

School outbreaks

Right now, there are outbreaks in 32 schools, with 163 active cases in total, she said, representing about 4% of schools in the province.

Of the outbreaks at school, seven likely had transmission within the school in at least one case, Hinshaw said.

Four schools are on the watch list, which means they have five or more cases.

“I remind everyone that while two confirmed cases in a school could be considered an epidemic, it is not a sign that a school is unsafe,” Hinshaw said. “In fact, we’ve looked at our data on school-age cases over the past few months and found that the weekly number of cases among people aged five to 19 has been most affected by trends in community transmission.

The highest weekly number of cases in this age group was recorded in April, when all cases peaked, when there were 216 cases in this age group in every second week. 257 people tested.

Since school began on Sept. 1, Alberta has seen a week-over-week decrease, from 205 to 183 to 122 cases per week, among school-aged children.

“This despite a significant increase in testing, with over 11,000, 18,000 and 14,000 children tested in those three weeks, respectively,” Hinshaw said.

“I want to highlight these figures not to downplay the importance of school safety, but rather to once again underline the importance of limiting community transmission for a successful back-to-school period. “

Higher count now than in summer

Examination of data from Alberta shows that the number of new daily cases was higher in September than it was for much of the summer.

In the past two weeks, Alberta has added 2,154 new cases to its total, an average of 154 per day.

During this time, the labs performed 179,231 tests, an average of 12,802 per day.

Here are the figures for the past two weeks.

  • Wednesday 23 September, 158 new cases, 12,317 tests completed.
  • Tuesday September 22: 143 new cases, 12,317 tests completed.
  • Monday September 21: 150 new cases, 14,267 tests completed.
  • Sunday September 20: 137 new cases, 12,760 tests completed.
  • Saturday, September 19: 102 new cases, 9,748 tests completed.
  • Friday, September 18: 119 new cases, 12,451 tests completed.
  • Thursday September 17: 107 new cases, 11,316 tests completed.
  • Wednesday September 16: 145 new cases, 13,011 tests completed.
  • Tuesday September 15: 180 new cases, 12,546 tests completed.
  • Monday September 14: 124 new cases, 12,989 tests completed.
  • Sunday, September 13: 142 new cases, 14,454 tests completed.
  • Saturday September 12: 171 new cases, 18,919 tests completed.
  • Friday September 11: 117 new cases, 12,759 tests completed.
  • Thursday September 10: 111 new cases, 11,981 tests completed.

In the two weeks in late April and early May, when daily new cases peaked, Alberta added 3,181 new cases to its total, an average of 227 per day.

During this period, the laboratories performed 59,298 tests, or an average of 4,235 per day.

Here are the numbers for that two week period.

  • May 1: 136 new cases, 2,847 tests completed.
  • April 30: 228 new cases, 5,035 tests completed.
  • April 29: 237 new cases, 5,077 tests completed.
  • April 28: 261 new cases, 4,363 tests completed.
  • April 27: 154 new cases, 3,445 tests completed.
  • April 26: 216 new cases, 4,302 tests completed.
  • April 25: 247 new cases, 4,664 tests completed.
  • April 24: 206 new cases, 4,532 tests completed.
  • April 23: 297 new cases, 4,471 tests completed.
  • April 22: 319 new cases, 4,057 tests completed.
  • April 21: 306 new cases, 4,314 tests completed.
  • April 20: 189 new cases, 4,017 tests completed.
  • April 19: 198 new cases, 4,373 tests completed.
  • April 18: 187 new cases, 3,801 tests completed.

The numbers clearly indicate that Alberta has tripled the number of tests performed each day.

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