EDMONTON -- There have now been nearly 3,000 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, but the distribution has been anything but even. Calgary has been hit hard, while Edmonton has only experienced a fraction of the cases.

“I don’t think I’ve seen any evidence that the cities are behaving differently, I think that it’s really just kind of circumstance that’s causing the spread,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Lynora Saxinger.

As of Monday, 2,077 cases have been in the Calgary zone, while only 438 have been in the Edmonton zone.

“Potentially traveler importation pattern being different early in Calgary. Potentially a couple of larger scale spreading events earlier in Calgary. And now this large work place centre outbreak is really a big concern,” Saxinger said.

So far 360 employees at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant have tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials have linked 484 new transmissions to that outbreak. The plant is technically in High River but Alberta Health Services considers it part of the Calgary health zone for reporting purposes.

“The increase in number of cases related the workers at the plant will have to be really carefully managed to make sure that we don’t get that leaking across different lines in the community.”

Another factor that could be driving the higher numbers in the city to the south is testing.

Since the outbreak began, 40,000 Calgarians have been tested for the virus. In Edmonton that number is 30,000.

“We’re finding people who don’t seem to have highly severe infections, and it’s not pushing the healthcare burden all that much at this point, but we did look harder for a while in Calgary too, and that would impact the numbers for sure,” Saxinger said.

But Saxinger said the spread between the two cities mainly comes down to circumstances and luck.

“I haven’t seen any indication that people are handling it all that differently between the cities, and it really has to do with these spreading events and where they happen and how quickly we can catch them and bring them under control,” she said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jay Rosove.