As province reports 30 more deaths, Albertans urged to adhere to restrictions on gathering during the holidays

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EDMONTON – As the province nears 800 COVID-19 deaths, its Chief Medical Officer of Health is using this sobering statistic to encourage Albertans to follow public health orders while on vacation.
“This year we can and should celebrate differently. Holiday gatherings with people outside your household are not only against the restrictions in place, they are also the wrong thing to do now, ”Dr Deena Hinshaw said in Thursday’s pandemic update. .

“We have repeatedly seen examples of people attending a rally with mild symptoms – like a headache or a stuffy nose that they didn’t know with COVID-19 – or while they were in the day. or two before their symptoms started, when they were contagious but didn’t know it. The result was that one case spreads to several. This is how cases increase and outbreaks begin. ”

Under current Alberta public health orders, gatherings are restricted to members of a household. Those who live alone are allowed to have two close contacts.

The rules are not recommendations, Hinshaw reminded the public, but legal restrictions.

That afternoon, she reported 1,571 new cases of COVID-19 in the province among 19,800 tests.

The number of people with the disease in a hospital has increased to 763, including 138 in ICUs.

A record number of deaths were reported to Alberta Health Services the day before: 30. The number of Albertans who have died from COVID-19 since March is 790.

“It’s a heartbreaking number,” Hinshaw said.

“If anyone still needs to reiterate the seriousness of this virus, the importance of the restrictions that are currently in place, and the importance of doing everything to limit our interactions and break the chains of transmission, this is it. .

NEARLY 400 IMMUNIZED

About 10% of the province’s first Pfizer vaccines have been administered, according to Hinshaw.

As of Wednesday evening, 394 health workers had received their first of two doses of the vaccine.

Alberta’s top doctor said there had been a few instances where priority workers were not called in and offered the vaccine – and others did – but “issues like this are not unexpected ”since the process is done manually. She advised anyone in this situation to speak to their manager.

She credited the province’s single health authority model for its smooth deployment so far.

Hinshaw added that the system has for years used a vaccination tracking program that leaves Alberta “very well positioned to be able to track all of this information and be able to make sure that we know exactly how many doses at all times. what lots and what types of vaccine are present at any location in Alberta. ”

The first shipments of 3,900 Pfizer vials arrived late Monday.

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