Alberta announced five more deaths related to COVID-19 on Monday, almost doubling the number of fatalities attributed to the virus.
Previously, Alberta had reported three deaths connected to the pandemic.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said Monday was one of the hardest days yet.
“We’ve always known that with a rise in cases, we would have more severe cases in terms of deaths,” she said in her daily update.
“Each of these individuals had life that mattered, and people who love them, and that’s the hard part, having so many (deaths) in one day.”
Two of the five deaths were in seniors’ housing in the Calgary and Edmonton zones: a woman in her 70s and a man in his 80s, respectively.
The three remaining deaths are a woman in her 50s in the Calagry zone, a man in his 80s in the Edmonton zone and a man in his 30s in the north zone.
“These deaths speak to the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, and why aggressive measures are needed to contain the spread,” said Hinshaw.
The province reported 29 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the provincial total to 690.
In the central zone, there was no increase in the numbers reported Monday. The total number of cases remains at 46 in the region.
In Red Deer, that number remains at 17. In Lacombe, there are two confirmed cases, one in Ponoka, seven in Red Deer County, one in Innisfail, two in Olds, one in the Stettler County area and eight in Wetaskiwin County.
In the Calgary zone, 422 cases have been confirmed, 164 in Edmonton, 12 in the south and 45 in the north zone.
The number of patients considered recovered in the province reached 94 on Monday.
Hinshaw said the number of new cases in the past few days has been comparitively lower than what Alberta has previously experienced.
That’s due to several factors, including the fact returning travellers are no longer being tested, and a decrease in the total daily number of tests over the past few days, given “some challenges with lab testing supplies.”
“It will take several days more of the new testing protocol to get enough data to understand our trends,” she said.
“I expect by the end of this week, we will have a better sense of what this data means to our risk in Alberta.”
The province believes 65 cases are as a result of community transmission. This number is concerning, said Hinshaw.
While some provinces, such as Alberta, had previously allowed those in self-isolation to leave their property for short walks, that has now changed.
The uniform recommendation across Canada now is, if you’re in quarantine because you recently came back from outsde the country, or were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, you must remain on your own property.
“You’re only permitted to go outdoors on your deck, in your yard, or on a balcony,” she said.
“This means if you’re in mandatory self-isolation, you can’t go out for walks at the park or your neighbourhood.”