Albertans urged to cooperate with contact tracers as 415 new COVID-19 cases reported

Feb 18 2021, 3:04 pm

Alberta announced 415 new COVID-19 cases Thursday as health officials urged everyone to pick up the phone when contact tracers call.

On Wednesday Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw highlighted a “concerning rise” in COVID-19 patients refusing to participate in the contact tracing process. The number increased from about 1% in 2020 to a high of 1.9% in January 2021.

On Thursday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro urged Albertans to trust contact tracers and answer their questions to help stop further spread of the virus.

“The contact tracers are people doing their jobs to … keep all Albertans healthy,” he said. “This isn’t about blame. It’s not invading everyone’s privacy. It’s about keeping those that you love the most safe and stopping the spread of the virus.”

Alberta Health Services’ 2,000-person team of contact tracers can close about 1,500 case investigations per day. When new daily cases are below 500, as they have been for several weeks, that means contact tracers can reach everyone in a timely manner.

Shandro thanked Albertans for the sacrifices they’ve made already, since keeping personal bubbles small speeds up the contact tracing process.

Seven more people died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, and Hinshaw offered condolences to their families.

There are now 362 people with COVID-19 in Alberta’s hospitals, including 55 in intensive care.

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