No new provincial restrictions for Alberta as COVID cases hit record high

Oct 22 2020, 3:41 pm

The province did not announce any new COVID-19 restrictions during a press conference on Thursday.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw spoke at the conference, which would be the last one of the week, stating that Albertans are encouraged to follow the current public health measures as coronavirus cases rise.

New numbers from the Province of Alberta show that active case numbers have reached a pandemic-long high of 3,519, and that a record 427 new cases of coronavirus were detected on October 21 alone.

A total of 112 people are in Alberta hospitals as a result of the virus, 18 of which are in ICUs.

Edmonton Zone was placed under additional, voluntary measures earlier this month as a result of their rise in active cases, with Hinshaw encouraging those in the area to reduce their private gatherings from 50 to 15, that masks be worn in all indoor work settings, and that an individual should only belong to three cohorts at most.

Hinshaw did note that bringing in additional measures — like what has recently been seen in other parts of the country — has been discussed among provincial decision-makers.

“We are looking at multiple responses for response to our provincial situation and there have been no decisions made yet about what that might look like,” she said at the Thursday press conference.

When asked about enacting voluntary measures in Calgary similar to what was seen in Edmonton earlier this month, Hinshaw noted that a close eye is being kept on the city’s coronavirus trends.

“We have seen a concerning rise in Calgary lately and we are looking at the numbers and the trends there to see if there is anything in particular that we can point to that is causing it,” she said.

“At this time we don’t have anything specific beyond those same trends that we are seeing across the province where social gatherings are a risk factor for large spread events and also making sure that we consider that local epidemiology and local partners before we make any decisions.”

Hinshaw also stated that the hospitalization rate across the province is a significant factor as to whether or not Alberta would enact further public health measures, like what was seen back in April and May, noting that no hospitalization rates in any provincial zone has crossed the warning threshold of 5%.

“What we’re looking at now is monitoring our acute care system, monitoring the impact of COVID cases and those that need hospital care, and understanding — again as we’re seeing these trends in cases — what we might see in the coming weeks as we know that hospitalizations and ICUs are a lagging indicator,” she said.

“There is no one perfect path and we are trying to do our best to balance COVID-19 impacts and the impacts of restrictions and trying to find the best paths forward that helps us to minimize both of those kinds of harms.”

There has now been a total of 23,829 coronavirus cases in Alberta, 20,014 of which have recovered, 3,519 remain active, and 296 have died.

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