Alberta COVID-19 rise to 2158, updated data on recoveries still not available

Above is the April 16 press briefing from the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw, scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

by Stephen Dafoe

Alberta tested 2779 Albertans in the past 24 hours, 162 of whom have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total cases to date to 2158. Of those tested over the previous day, 5.8% tested positive. That number is higher than the 2% that was consistent through the early days of testing; however, testing has expanded to all Albertans with symptoms.

There were two more deaths, a man in his 70s in the Calgary zone, and a woman in her 80s in the north zone, bringing the provincial total to 50. Deaths now account for 2.3% of the total cases.

For the second day in a row, the province has not been able to release in-depth data on recoveries or the number of cases, recoveries, and deaths on a narrower geographical level.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during Thursday’s briefing that Late Tuesday night a power failure caused a small electrical fire at a data centre that knocked out the reporting system. She is hoping to be able to resume providing the standard detailed report on Friday.

Data on current hospitalizations and ICU numbers were also not available at the time of this story. We will update that info when available.

Hinshaw said outbreaks at the Kearl Lake oilsands facility north of Fort McMurray and the Cargill meat processing plant in High River are being monitored by AHS and that the companies are cooperating.

SMOKING, VAPING AND DRINKING

The doctor provided some health recommendations and updates Thursday, encouraging people to reduce or quit smoking and vaping during the pandemic.

“As you know, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. Many Albertans have asked me if smokers or vapers are more at risk, and if stopping smoking will protect you from COVID-19,” Hinshaw said.”Smoking and e-cigarettes can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals. It is not yet clear whether these exposures increase the risk of catching COVID-19; however, they do increase the risk of severe illness for those who get infected.”

Hinshaw went on to say there is growing evidence to suggest quitting smoking or vaping, even temporarily, can have positive outcomes in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19; however, she did not cite a specific source for that evidence.

“Smoking increases the risk of poor outcomes from any lung infection, and this virus mainly infects the lungs,” she said, adding that smoking and vaping increases the risk of touching face and mouth. “This can make it easier to catch the virus from the hands.”

Hinshaw also encourages Albertans to limit their alcohol consumption during the pandemic.

“Alcohol consumption can make many things worse, including health issues, risk-taking behaviour, mental health and violence,” Hinshaw said.”All Albertans should be mindful of how much they are drinking. No more than about two drinks per day are recommended for women and three drinks per day for men.”

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.

Please note: Morinville News is not able to provide details on number of cases in specific municipalities as that information is not being provided by AHS unless it occurs in a specific facility.

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