364 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday in Alberta

364 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday in Alberta

Three new voluntary health measures introduced in Edmonton zone

The province announced an increase of 364 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

The Edmonton region was the source of 276 of the new cases, prompting Alberta’s chief medical officer of health to introduce voluntary steps aimed at curbing the spread of the virus in the capital.

“These measures are not being taken lightly, but are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from continuing to escalate,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said Thursday that while there is a concern with the numbers in Edmonton, so far, Red Deerians have done good work to mitigate transmission of COVID-19.

“Red Deer has been very fortunate to have relatively low case numbers in the city and also in the central health zone, relative to the rest of the province and the country,” Veer said, adding she’s been in contact with other mayors across the zone about their management of COVID-19.

“I think that’s a credit to Red Deerians and their voluntary compliance with public health protocol and how stringent our citizens are taking public health measures.

“Any time there is a rise in cases in other communities — because as Albertans, we live, work and recreate throughout the province — a rise in cases in any city is a concern because of the possibility of community transmission.”

There are now 2,097 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta.

“I especially caution Albertans against planning large get-togethers this weekend,” said Hinshaw. “Now is not the time to be gathering in large groups, travelling long distances for the holiday or sharing food or utensils outside your cohort.

“Keep your Thanksgiving small, keep it safe and protect one another.”

The new voluntary measures in the Edmonton zone encourage limiting family and private gatherings to no more than 15 people. Hinshaw also recommended masks be worn in all indoor work settings and asked citizens to limit their number of cohorts to no more than three.

“While these voluntary measures are focused on the Edmonton zone, everyone in the province should take note. We must all take precautions to limit the virus’ spread to our friends, family and loved ones.”

Red Deer — which currently has seven active cases of the virus — hasn’t experienced the same rise in case numbers as Edmonton.

Hinshaw noted 36 per cent of the cases in Edmonton were exposed by a close contact. Twenty-six per cent are linked to an outbreak.

“Household or community contacts continue to be a key driver in spreading the virus throughout the city. Social gatherings and family gatherings continue to be a factor in virus spreading events,” she said, adding several Edmonton workplaces have also seen outbreaks.

Although there have been no announced restrictions to businesses yet in Edmonton or the province as a whole, Rick More, CEO of the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, said if the province took steps to close the economy because of rising COVID-19 numbers, it would be devastating to local shops and services.

“A reversal to look at closures would be devastating to a slow, creeping economy,” he said in an email.

“If numbers rise in this area, we just have to be even more prudent in our levels of hygiene. Surely, we have learned by now the consequences.”

The central zone currently sits at 39 active cases of the virus, while the Calgary zone has 604. Edmonton has spiked to 1,251 active cases of COVID-19.

Ponoka County has jumped to 12 active cases and Mountain View County has five active cases. Olds, Wetaskiwin and Sylvan Lake each have one active case of the virus.

Lacombe sits at three active cases, while Red Deer County and Lacombe County each have two active cases.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday that the province was ready to move forward with Phase 2A and B in the coming weeks. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
COVID restrictions for retail, sports and performers further eased

Occupancy in stores and malls boosted to 25 per cent from 15 per cent

Advocate file image
Red Deer COVID cases continue to decline

249 cases in Red Deer, down from 565 peak on Feb. 22

(Photo from Highway 11 Functional Planning Study)
Public input wanted for Highway 11 improvement plan

Round 2 of public online engagement continues until March 10

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

A SAGA member (left) poses as Jessi Hanks (right) with Castle Restaurant puts up a safe space sticker to display on the restaurant’s front door. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
SAGA Wetaskiwin works with local businesses to display they are a safe space

The safe space stickers show that its a safe and inclusive space.

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during their appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta Appeal Court orders 3rd trial for parents in toddler’s meningitis death

Stephans were accused of not seeking medical attention sooner for Ezekiel, who had meningitis when he died

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Kiara Robillard is seen in an undated handout photo. When the pandemic began, Robillard had to rush back home to Alberta from California, where she had been living for five years, after she was struck by a truck that broke her spine in two places. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kiara Robillard, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It kind of clicks:’ Text4Hope program helps with depression, anxiety during pandemic

Participants receive one text message every morning for three months

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

Most Read