OHS Canada Magazine

‘Extremely concerning’: Alberta records daily high of about 800 new cases


EDMONTON — Alberta’s top doctor announced a record-breaking range of 800 new COVID-19 cases in the province Thursday and said new public health restrictions may be on the way.

Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical health officer, said there were technical problems in collecting the case data but she could estimate the daily tally at about 800.

Alberta’s previous one-day record of 622 cases was reported last Friday.

Hinshaw called the spike “extremely concerning.”

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“Unless our numbers decline dramatically in the next few days, we will have to consider additional measures to bring COVID numbers down,” she told a news briefing.

She added that discussions are underway about what those measures might be.

Restrictions tighten

Ten days earlier, after daily cases reached the 500 mark, the province announced social gatherings in Edmonton and Calgary were being limited to 15 people.

It also extended to Calgary voluntary measures previously recommended in Edmonton: wearing masks indoors at work and limiting contacts.

Hinshaw said Thursday that a high proportion of active cases involve people who attended work, shopped in stores, travelled and attended social gatherings while having symptoms.

The province reported 6,230 active cases on Wednesday.

“We’re talking about at least 500 people who did not stay home while symptomatic. This is significant,” Hinshaw said.

“I am calling on all Albertans: please stop all activities if you have any symptoms.

“You are putting others at risk and potentially spreading the virus.”

Premier Jason Kenney has said in recent weeks that he doesn’t want to close or restrict businesses and activities, as was done in the spring, and that people need to exercise their personal responsibility during the pandemic.

On Monday, Kenney repeated that closing bars and restaurants would not rectify the problem and asked that people “knock it off” when it comes to super-spreader events like parties.

He said officials were able to trace a number of deaths in a nursing home to a house party.