Alberta adds more than 100 COVID-19 cases for the first time since early May
EDMONTON -- Alberta's COVID-19 numbers are "up significantly from yesterday" after adding more than 100 cases for the first time since May 2.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 120 new cases of the coronavirus after Alberta Health Services conducted more than 8,200 tests.
Active cases spiked to 807 with 69 patients in hospital, including eight in ICUs.
Two more Albertans have died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 165.
Calgary surpassed 300 active infections with a total of 312, while Edmonton has 184 current cases.
"I absolutely am concerned about the recent numbers and the increase in numbers that we've had," Hinshaw said. "I'm particularly concerned about the number of cases where we don’t know the source.
"I'm very concerned about reports of people not following physical distancing, for example on beaches as we saw this last weekend. I'm concerned about reports of people who are feeling that public health measures are no longer important."
The province currently has five regions to its watch category: Mackenzie County, County of Stettler No. 6, Wheatland County, Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26 and Cardston County.
Alberta has tallied 9,114 cases of the coronavirus since March.
CONTINUING CARE FACILITIES
Alberta is making changes to visiting rules at continuing care facilities.
As the pandemic began to unfold, the chief medical officer of health restricted visitors to protect residents at these homes.
Out of the 165 Albertans the virus has killed, 119 lived at continuing care facilities.
Previously, indoor visits were limited to one designated family member, and outdoor visits could only include that person plus one more.
"Protecting residents from COVID-19 has required placing severe restrictions on visits, which helped limit and prevent outbreaks, but also took a toll on those living inside these facilities."
Starting July 23, that restrictive access is shifting to what Hinshaw calls a safe-access approach, where residents can welcome two people indoor without having to make an appointment, and up to four visitors outside.
"We believe this will help people remain socially and emotionally connected while still protecting those who are most at risk of severe outcomes," Hinshaw said. "We heard clearly from residents and family that these restrictions were causing great stress, and in some cases, profound decline in health status in residents who grew depressed, isolated and lonely."
The province is letting each facility develop a visitor policy based on consultation with residents, family and staff that weighs the level of risk each home is willing to assume.
However, Hinshaw warns that the virus is still here and that senior residents remain at risk.