Red Deer now has 20 cases of COVID-19, an increase of three cases in a single day.
The Alberta government confirmed 64 new COVID-19 cases in the province Tuesday. That brings the provincial total to 754. Of those, 51 cases are in the central zone, an increase of five, from 46 as of Monday.
There are now 14 cases in Red Deer east, four in Red Deer southwest and two in Red Deer north. Previously, there were 17 cases in the city.
Lacombe also added a case, bringing its total to three. Seven cases remain in Red Deer County, one in the Ponoka area, eight in Wetaskiwin County, one in Innisfail and two in Olds.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, encouraged healthy Albertans on Tuesday to help their communities, or to reach out to friends, family or neighbours who may be struggling.
“Last night, I read about someone who was out on a balcony shedding a few tears, and a neighbour from another balcony overheard and called out, ‘it’s going to be OK,’” said Hinshaw, while encouraging Albertans to be kind to one another.
The highest number of cases of COVID-19 is in the Calgary zone, at 453, followed by the Edmonton zone at 187. There are 50 and 12 cases in the north and south zones, respectively.
On Tuesday, the province confirmed one additional COVID-19 related death, in the Calgary zone, bringing the total deaths to nine in the province.
So far, 120 people have recovered from coronavirus in the province, an increase of 26 since Monday.
Of the 754 cases, the province believes about 75 cases are as a result of community transmission.
Seventy-seven of the 754 cases involve health-care workers, including staff in continuing care facilities. Most were returning travellers or participants at a bonspiel in Edmonton, and didn’t acquire the virus while providing care, Hinshaw explained.
In the past couple of days, Alberta’s testing capacity was reduced, but it’s back to normal, Hinshaw said Tuesday.
“Over the weekend, we did have a challenge with a shipment of a chemical used in the testing process, which was delayed, which arrived yesterday (Monday). So I anticipate our testing numbers will be able to increase now – to test to our full capacity again,” she explained.
Dr. Mark Joffe, vice-president and medical director for northern Alberta with Alberta Health Services, said the agency has been preparing for what could be an increasing number of cases in the province.
“I can’t give you exact numbers as to how many beds are open today, but health care workers who have been in the system for many years, are telling me that they have never seen as many beds open in our facilities as there are right now,” he said.
“We are identifying between now and April 15 about 250 beds that we will have ready for use, in case we need them. We’re, in fact, going beyond that capacity as well.”
There are many religious commemerations coming up, including Ramadan, Easter and Passover.
Hinshaw said Albertans need to remember mass gatherings are not allowed at this time. She encourages Albertans to find innovative ways to connect with each other, such as virtually, during the upcoming holidays.