Alberta’s top doctor was concerned Monday about people not quarantining while waiting for COVID test results the same day she advised Albertans the upcoming holiday won’t be the usual Thanksgiving.
Alberta confirmed 578 COVID-19 cases Monday with numbers from the weekend: 97 on Friday, 263 on Saturday and 218 on Sunday.
Edmonton zone had the highest active cases Monday at 982, followed by Calgary zone at 624.
Central zone active cases went up to 22 Monday – slightly higher from Friday’s 19. One person in the zone is in the hospital – up from Friday’s zero.
The City of Red Deer’s active cases went down to four Monday from Friday’s five.
The increasing active cases in the Edmonton zone is concerning said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health.
Hinshaw said through conversation with local public health and the City of Edmonton, the province is determining if additional measures should be recommended in the City of Edmonton to bring cases down.
“One alarming trend we’ve seen in our review of current active cases is about 11 per cent of cases are attending work or social gatherings when symptomatic when awaiting test results,” she said.
“This is a significant risk and is one of the factors causing our case numbers to rise.
“I want to be clear: if you’re sick you need to stay home, you should not go to any social gatherings.”
Those gatherings would also include Thanksgiving dinners.
“If together we cannot control the spread, we may be forced to consider additional, more restrictive measures,” warned Hinshaw.
She urged Albertans to keep gatherings limited to households and cohorts, to eat outdoors if possible, and to not share serving spoons or dishes.
“I sympathize with the desire to be with people we love most to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for, however this is not a normal Thanksgiving.
“The greatest tragedy would be to have Thanksgiving dinner turn into an opportunity for COVID to spread to our loved ones, potentially with severe consequences.”
Eight people in the province died over the weekend bringing the total death toll to 280 Monday. None of those deaths were in the central Alberta zone.
To date, 647 people have recovered from the virus in the central Alberta zone.
Lacombe County had one active case Monday, two in City of Lacombe, four in Ponoka County, one in County of Wetaskiwin, two in County of Stettler, one in Town of Olds and two in Mountain View County.
There are no active cases in the Town of Sylvan Lake, Red Deer County, City of Wetaskiwin, Clearwater County, Kneehill County and Starland County.
Sixty-two people were in hospital in the province Monday with 14 in intensive care.
Speaking of schools Hinshaw said there are active alerts or outbreaks in 149 schools (mostly in City of Calgary and Edmonton) – which is about six per cent of all the schools in the province. Currently, these schools have 319 active cases in total. That includes 65 schools on outbreaks and 10 on province’s watch list. Alberta government defines an outbreak as two confirmed cases in a school.