by Morinville News Staff
Monday’s live-stream update from the province shows there are now 690 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alberta, an increase of 29 cases in the past 24 hours. However, the province says the lower number may be attributed to fewer lab tests completed due to challenges with lab testing supplies. The government confirmed lab testing is now back to full capacity.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, has reported that another five Albertans have died, bringing the total deaths in the province to eight.
Two of the five deaths in the past 24 hours were in long-term care facilities. This includes a male in his 80s living at Edmonton’s Rosedale facility and a female in her 70s living at Calgary’s McKenzie Towne Care facility, where 36 residents and five staff are probable or confirmed cases. There are six cases at Shepherd’s Care Kensington Village. The other three deaths were in Alberta Health’s Calgary, Edmonton, and North zones.
The province’s third death was in the Calgary zone over the weekend. A second death occurred March 22, a woman in her 80s living in the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary. The first death occurred on March 19 and was on a man in his 60s in the Edmonton Zone who had preexisting conditions.
Hinshaw said 94 Albertans have now recovered. That number is included in the total of 660 cases.
To date, Alberta has tested 46,057, an increase of 1058 in the last 24 hours. Sixty-one per cent of the province’s cases are in the Calgary Zone.
The province now believes 65 of the province’s total cases may be community transmitted, having been transmitted from person to person in a community as opposed to being infected out of country. Hinshaw said Monday that they are working on modelling to better understand how community transmissions are occurring.
Currently, there are 28 people in hospital with 11 of those admitted to intensive care units (ICU). To date 47 Albertans have been hospitalized with the illness; 17 of those were in ICU.
Alberta Health’s geographical data for March 30 shows there are currently five cases of COVID-19 in Sturgeon County West, which includes Bon Accord and Morinville, as well as surrounding rural areas. There were no cases of COVID-19 identified in Sturgeon County East. Those numbers remain unchanged from the previous day.
Exploring faster lab testing
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is partnering with a Canadian technology company to provide rapid testing for COVID-19 for Alberta.
Spartan Bioscience is developing a COVID-19 test kit that would allow AHS lab workers to test for suspected COVID-19 in rural communities, rather than needing to send test samples to the two centralized laboratories in Edmonton and Calgary. More details are available in this AHS news release.
Dr. Hinshaw reiterated rules of social distancing and self-isolation. To align with new federal rules under the Quarantine Act, Albertans under mandatory self-isolation are now required to remain inside and can only go for walks on their own property, such as their backyard, for the duration of their self-isolation.
Hinshaw said that self-isolating Albertans can no longer go for walks in their neighbourhoods or through parks until their self-isolation period ends. People who live in apartment buildings or highrises who are self-isolating must stay inside and cannot use the elevators or stairwells to go outside. These rules apply to everyone in mandatory self-isolation – those who are feeling well and those who have symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, shortness of breath or a runny nose.
Albertans are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days if they returned from travel outside of Canada after March 12, are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19,
Those who become sick during this time must self-isolate for an additional 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer.
Up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19 in Alberta is available at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx?.
Local information on Morinville’s handling of the pandemic is online at http://morinville.ca/covid19.