Two more deaths, 117 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta after test backlog
EDMONTON -- Alberta confirmed 117 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the largest daily total in Alberta to date.
The province credits the large increase, which brought the total to 871, to a testing backlog.
Two more Albertans have died as a result of the novel coronavirus, bringing Alberta's death toll to 11.
"This has been the toughest week of the pandemic for our province," Kenney said.
"We need to be upfront with Albertans. The hard truth is that things will get worse before they get better."
The victims are a man in his 80s in the Calgary zone and a man in his 80s in the North zone.
Of the 871 Albertans who have contracted COVID-19, 142 have recovered from the virus.
The province suspects 94 cases were spread in the community.
CONTINUING CARE HOMES
There are COVID-19 outbreaks at four seniors homes in Alberta: 35 cases at Calgary's McKenzie Towne Long Term Care, four cases at Edmonton's Shepherd's Care Kensington, one case at Calgary's Carewest Glenmore Park and one case at Calgary's Father Lacombe Nursing Home.
"At this moment, my greatest concern is about the health and safety of those in continuing care and other congregate settings," Dr. Hinshaw said.
"Each of these outbreaks needs and has received close attention."
Hinshaw highlighted there have been no new cases for many cases at Shepherd's Care Kensington and Carewest Glenmore Park, but maintained she is "still concerned about potential cases" at seniors homes.
Alberta Health Services is working closely with continuing care homes, where the province implemented strict infection prevention protocols — such as enhanced cleaning and staff screening — to prevent more coronavirus spread.
Alberta has conducted a total of 53,141 COVID-19 tests, including more than 4,500 in the past 24 hours.
Ninety-eight per cent of tests in the past day came back negative, Dr. Hinshaw said.
"When Albertans see the number of 871, they should be concerned. I am concerned," Hinshaw said. "We're only able to report what's been tested, but that's not a reflection of the number of people who get ill every day … we did see couple of days earlier this week where we had quite low numbers. Today is obviously a very high number, but the overall percentage of the tests that we're getting that are testing positive is relatively constant."
Hinshaw added that what's more concerning than Wednesday's high case count is the two per cent positive rate in tests in the last several days.
The province changed its testing protocols at the start of the week, and health professionals are currently investigating the data to give Albertans a clearer picture on the coronavirus pandemic.
"By the end of this week, my plan is to tell Albertans, what does this data mean? How should we be reacting with respect to, are there particular locations and groups that we think are more at risk? Does this change in terms of focus in particular areas?
As of 4:20 p.m., there were 9,731 cases of COVID-19 and 111 deaths in Canada.