Kenney to join Hinshaw in Friday COVID-19 update

EDMONTON — A day after Alberta reported about 800 cases of COVID-19, Premier Jason Kenney will join Dr. Deena Hinshaw in her address to the province this afternoon.

Alberta Health did not report exact data Thursday after more technical issues; however, the chief medical officer of health said there were more than 800 new cases of the coronavirus — a count that shattered the previous record of 622.

It’s unknown how many infections there currently are, but the count has continued to balloon even after officials restricted social gatherings to a maximum of 15 people in Edmonton and Calgary. Kenney and Hinshaw have repeatedly stressed the rapid spread would leave them no choice but to implement more measures to alleviate the strain on the health system.

“It means that the measures we introduced 10 days ago, which may have helped cases plateau over the last few days, are not having enough of an effect,” Alberta’s top doctor said.

“It means that in about seven to 10 days from now, our hospital numbers will rise further, which means that care for Albertans with other issues besides COVID will be impacted.” 

Hinshaw is concerned Halloween is not the reason for this increase yet. Part of them problem, she said, is that at least 500 of the approximately 5,000 Albertans who have COVID-19 in Edmonton and Calgary went to work, shopping or social events with symptoms.

“This is significant. I am calling on Albertans to please stop all activities if you have any symptoms,” she said.

The rate of transmission is rising so fast that contact tracers can’t keep up with it, so Alberta Health Service is shifting its approach to only notify “high-priority setting” cases, such as continuing care facilities, hospitals and schools.

All positives will still get a call from AHS, but it will now be on them to call close contacts and tell them to self-isolate and get tested, if they are not connected to the facilities given priority.

“AHS does not currently have the capacity to call every contact of every case in a timely way,” the chief medical officer of health said.

Alberta had 6,230 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

Hinshaw and Kenney will speak at 3:30 p.m., live at CTVNewsEdmonton.ca.

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