Dr. Deena Hinshaw is warning that new public health measures may be necessary if cases do not “decline dramatically.”
Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, spoke at a press conference on Thursday, providing an update on the coronavirus situation in the province.
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Due to technical issues, the daily update to the Province of Alberta’s coronavirus case numbers could not be given, though Hinshaw did note that roughly 800 new cases of coronavirus were detected.
“While I don’t have detailed case numbers today, I can tell you that about 800 new cases have been identified in the last 24 hours,” she said.
“Currently, nine hospitals across the province have outbreaks, including a new outbreak declared yesterday and the Chinook Regional Hospital.”
Alberta has seen a dramatic increase in new and active cases of coronavirus over the past few weeks, prompting Hinshaw to tighten up restrictions surrounding social gatherings in Calgary and Edmonton.
Indoor social gatherings were limited to a maximum of 15 people, though Hinshaw stated on Thursday that the alarmingly high number of new cases being seen 10 days after those updated restrictions is cause for concern.
“Unless our numbers decline dramatically in the next few days, we will have to consider additional measures to bring COVID numbers down in order to protect our health system.”
Hinshaw also stated that the province’s contact tracers have become overwhelmed by the increase in new cases and have begun to focus their resources towards high priority settings like schools, continuing care facilities, and healthcare facilities.
Much of the rise in coronavirus in Alberta, Hinshaw noted, is due to symptomatic individuals not remaining at home.
“I am calling on Albertans to stop all activities if you have any symptoms,” she said.
“By leaving your home for any reason other than getting tested or seeking healthcare, you are putting others at risk and potentially spreading the virus so that one case can lead to many.”
The Province of Alberta will have both Thursday and Friday’s official numbers available on Friday.