More than one million Albertans have been tested at least once for COVID-19.
The government’s website showed Monday that more than 1.3 million tests have been conducted in the province on 1,001,638 Albertans.
Alberta has conducted more tests per capita for COVID-19 than B.C., Quebec or Ontario have, said Health Minister Tyler Shandro on Monday.
Shandro said roughly one in four Albertans have been tested for COVID-19, calling it a historic milestone.
Alberta reported 406 new COVID-19 cases Monday. The cases included statistics from the weekend: 60 on Friday, 184 on Saturday and 162 on Sunday.
The province reported four additional deaths over the weekend.
The central zone’s active cases went up to 18 Monday, from Friday’s 16. To date, seven people have died in the local zone.
The City of Red Deer had five active cases, according to the government’s website. That’s a decrease of one since Friday.
Red Deer County was at three active cases and Ponoka County at five.
There was one case in the Town of Sylvan Lake – the same as the City of Lacombe, Lacombe County, City of Wetaskiwin, Town of Olds and Town of Drumheller.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, said Monday via video that she developed a sore throat and was tested for COVID-19 Friday.
The result was negative, but the top doctor will remain at home until her symptoms clear up.
“Despite this, I don’t want to pass on whatever I have to others,” said Hinshaw on Monday. “I know staying home is not easy and that many Albertans face difficult financial or other choices.
“Most of us have worked with sore throats or runny noses many, many times. However, during COVID, that’s not a risk I or anyone should take.”
Influenza season is upon us and what happens with COVID and flu season is up to us, said Hinshaw.
“It depends on choices we make, whether that be for COVID or influenza.”
The government website showed Monday there were six schools in Calgary and Edmonton that are on the provincial watch list, which is for schools where outbreaks have been declared with five or more cases, where disease could have been acquired or transmitted in the school.
Hinshaw said she’s heard that because younger people are at lower risk than seniors of experiencing severe outcomes of COVID-19, “we should protect older Albertans, but otherwise let the virus spread, so we can build up a collective immunity to it.”
She said a herd immunity strategy is not the right approach, because COVID-19 is able to spread rapidly, especially with the inter-connected lives we all lead today, and the health system would be overloaded if the virus spread freely.
“The more community transmission we see, the greater the risk of it spreading to older and at-risk Albertans.
“Finally, we still don’t know if being infected with COVID-19 actually confers any robust or long-lasting immunity.”