by Morinville News Staff
COVID-19 cases in Alberta rose by 57 in the last 24 hours to 358, the majority of those (59.77%) still being in the Calgary Zone. To date, 32,776 people have been tested in Alberta.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said she believes 28 of the province’s 358 cases were acquired in the community as opposed to being travel related.
The Chief Medical Officer said Alberta’s rate of increase is in part due to Alberta doing more testing per capita and other provinces shifting away from testing travellers before Alberta has.
“These numbers are about how we impact that and flatten the curve,” Hinshaw said, adding the shift into healthcare worker testing will give a better idea of what is happening with respect to community spread.
Hinshaw said they have not isolated the number of healthcare workers who have become infected, but that they will start reporting those numbers soon.
There are currently 19 Albertans hospitalized with COVID-19, seven of those in Intensive Care Units (ICU). That is an increase of one hospitalized in the past 24 hours from yesterdays 18 hospitalized and seven in ICU.
In her daily update, Hinshaw said the number of recovered patients remains at three. There has been no change in that number since Friday, although the province said Sunday a longer-term process for determining timely reporting of recovered cases is underway.
There has been a second death related to the illness. The first death was a man in his 60s in the Edmonton Zone. The second death was a woman in her 80s living in the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary. The woman developed symptoms on Mar. 22 and died Mar. 23. Hinshaw said Tuesday one staff member and two other residents of that facility have tested positive for COVID-19 and that 11 other residents are showing symptoms and awaiting test results. The source of the infection is not yet known.
Alberta Health’s geographical data for Mar. 24 shows there are currently four cases of COVID-19 in Sturgeon County West, which includes Bon Accord and Morinville, as well as surrounding rural areas. That number is the same since Saturday, which was one less than Friday.
All Albertans who have travelled outside of the country, including snowbirds returning home from wintering in the United States and other countries, must go straight home upon returning to Alberta and self-isolate for 14 days. The government cautions this means not going to the grocery store, not stopping at the kennel to pick up their dog, not dropping their RV off for service or storage, and not having family and friends over to visit or going to visit them while isolated. It means going directly and immediately home, self-isolating for 14 days and monitoring for symptoms.
If symptoms do develop, individuals must self-isolate from all other members of their household for an additional 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until they are feeling well, whichever takes longer.
People not experiencing symptoms are reminded they can still go outside, but this must be limited to activities such as walks, where the individual remains two metres away from others.
Seniors facilities limiting visitation
Seniors facilities are receiving social isolation and distancing information, and stronger restrictions are being put in place for visitors to long-term and seniors care facilities. Essential visitors will be restricted to a single individual who can be family, a friend, or a paid companion who provides care and companionship necessary for the well-being of the resident (physical and mental health) and/or a single designated visitor for a person who is dying, as long as only one visitor enters the facility at a time. Every visitor will undergo a health screening.
Up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19 in Alberta is available at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx?.