Alberta reports record 427 new COVID-19 infections, active cases now exceed 3,500
EDMONTON -- Alberta reported 427 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, increasing the province’s active tally to 3,519.
Both daily and active counts are pandemic highs as the Edmonton and Calgary zones continue to see a rise in cases with 1,718 and 1,260, respectively.
In her update Thursday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said she’s “very concerned” about the rise in numbers and explained the reason behind growth.
“We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be,” Hinshaw said.
“The leading source of exposures for active cases right now are close contacts, and many of the cases that we are seeing now are the result of spread over Thanksgiving when families gathered together. People did not mean to spread COVID, but it is a reminder where social gatherings where social distancing and masking are not used consistently are a significant risk for spread.”
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Hospitals across the province have 112 COVID-19 patients, 18 of whom are in ICU.
No new deaths were announced Thursday, keeping the death toll at 296.
Alberta has reported 23,829 cases and 20,014 recoveries to date.
NEW MEASURES IN EDMONTON ZONE HOSPITALS
As cases rise and hospital beds fill up in the capital region, Alberta Health Services has decided to postpone non-urgent surgeries to ease the strain on frontline workers.
AHS also delayed some ambulatory care clinic visits in the Edmonton zone, but urgent, emergent and cancer surgeries will continue, Hinshaw said.
“With a rise in COVID-19 cases, we are seeing an increase not only in our hospitalization numbers, but also an increase in the number of frontline health care workers who are off due to quarantine restrictions,” the doctor added.
Surgeries will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Premier Jason Kenney entered self-isolation Wednesday after Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard, a close contact of his last week, tested positive for the coronavirus.
Kenney was at the legislature Wednesday for Question Period but tested negative later in the day.
He remained in self-isolation Thursday and called into the rapid testing for international travellers announcement where he said he was concerned with the growing number of cases.
“We cannot completely exclude the possibility of targeted limited restrictions in the future, if determined that a case growth could begin to jeopardize the health care system,” Kenney said. “But if we do that, it will be based not on a hunch, not on political pressure, but on data.”