Alberta confirms 28 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

There are 28 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, bringing the provincial total to 1,451.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, announced the latest statistics at the provincial government’s daily press conference Wednesday afternoon.

There are still 32 confirmed cases in Red Deer, with 16 active and 16 recovered. Red Deer County has a total of 12 cases: seven active and five recovered.

The City of Lacombe has two recovered cases, while the County of Lacombe has one active and three recovered.

Stettler County has one recovered case, Clearwater County has one active case, Mountain View County has two active and three recovered cases, and Ponoka County has one recovered case.

Hinshaw said 192 of the confirmed cases may be a result of community transmission. There are 592 recovered cases, an increase of 74.

Three more people have died as a result of the virus: a woman in her 80s and a woman in her 60s in the Calgary zone, and a man in his 70s in the Edmonton zone. The death toll is now at 32 in Alberta.

One of the deaths in Calgary occurred at a continuing care facility – 151 of the cases are among facility staff or residents. Hinshaw said it’s important to keep those residents safe.

“I heard about one long-term care resident who just celebrated her 101st birthday. Her family made signs and brought them to show through the window of the facility, while waving and smiling to celebrate her birthday, all the while keeping appropriate physical distancing,” she said.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Albertans should stay home and avoid travelling during the Easter long weekend.

“Spending a holiday away from people that we care about is difficult, but what we are doing matters. These are difficult times for all of us, but doing what’s right isn’t always easy.

“Staying home this long weekend is the right thing to do,” said Shandro.

There are some early signs that show Albertans are “making a difference” in preventing the spread of COVID-19, Hinshaw said – one of those signs is a “dramatic” drop in confirmed influenza cases, while testing numbers have stayed about the same.

But Hinshaw said she is concerned about some private gyms remaining open during the pandemic.

“This is in violation of public health orders, which are enforceable by law. I understand physical exercise is an important activity for overall health and well-being, both physical and mental. But the risk of transmission is too great for spaces like these,” she said.

“I encourage Albertans to look at other ways to exercise without jeopardizing the health of others. We need to be mindful, now, more than ever, that our actions carry consequences for all of us.”

Also announced Thursday was the expansion of pandemic patient capacity at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary.

An Alberta-based company, Sprung Structure, donated a $235,000 temporary structure to Alberta Health Services that will add up to 6,000 square feet of treatment space and create about 100 more care spaces for Calgary-area patients.

AHS will invest up to $3 million to turn the structure into a site for safe, high-quality health-care delivery that meets all standards for infection prevention and control.

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