Alberta records 7 more COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, hospitalizations climb to 217

Alberta’s COVID-19 situation remained serious Wednesday, with the province reporting 672 new cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the number of people in hospital with the virus to 217, 46 of whom were in intensive care units.

Read more: 713 new cases of COVID-19, 7 deaths reported in Alberta Tuesday

Seven additional deaths were reported Wednesday. Four of the fatalities were linked to COVID-19 outbreaks in hospitals or long-term care homes.

A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Mayerthorpe Extendicare in the North zone has died, as did a man in his 70s connected to the outbreak at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton. A woman in her 80s linked to the outbreak at Villa Marguerite in the Edmonton zone and a woman in her 80s connected to the outbreak at Spruce Lodge in the Calgary zone also passed away.

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Three more women — one in her 70s in the North zone, one in her 80s in the Edmonton zone and one in her 60s in the South zone — have also died from COVID-19. They were not linked to any outbreaks.

A total of 383 Albertans have died from the virus.

Updated active case numbers — and a breakdown by zone — were not provided Wednesday (Remembrance Day), nor were the number of lab tests done or the number of recoveries.

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Dr. Deena Hinshaw is scheduled to provide her next in-person update on COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon.

On Tuesday, there were 8,090 active cases in Alberta. The Edmonton zone had 3,255 active cases and the Calgary zone had 3,434.

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Read more: Further COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings announced across much of Alberta

Premier Jason Kenney has said repeatedly that the province must strike a balance between not overwhelming the health-care system and not decimating the economy.

“The premier has been very clear that his goal is to protect both lives and livelihoods,” Kenney’s spokesperson Christine Myatt told Global News on Tuesday.

Read more: ‘Unclear processes’ led to days of delay for critical asymptomatic testing at long-term care homes

Kenney was asked Friday why more extreme measures like a lockdown similar to ones being seen in other jurisdictions aren’t being considered.

“Our goal is not to take COVID-19 to zero,” he said. “Our goal is to keep the spread under control so it does not overwhelm the health-care system without hammering our broader social, economic, mental and physical health.”

“We do not think it’s realistic — the cost to people’s lives and livelihoods of trying to go to zero until there’s a vaccine and we don’t know when that would be — would simply be unacceptable in our view.”

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Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi said Tuesday that the province announced some substantial rule changes on Friday.

“As of last week, the premier and Dr. Hinshaw told us: if the person doesn’t live in your house, they shouldn’t be in your house.”

Read more: Iveson: Mayors generally support stronger COVID-19 measures but cities’ ‘tool kit is limited’

He stressed it’s time for Albertans to all restrict and shrink their “bubble” or cohort for the next few weeks and months.“We have to protect the public health,” Nenshi said Tuesday.

“We’re at 50 per cent of ICU capacity now and at the rate this thing is doubling… it doubles very, very quickly.”

“We have to act and all of us have to do everything we can do: good hygiene, wash your hands, cover your cough, keep your distance, wear a mask, get your flu shot… and restrict your activities as much as you can.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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