Alberta’s top doctor is concerned that people are not quarantining while waiting for the return of their COVID-19 test results.
The observation by Dr. Deena Hinshaw came Monday, the same day she advised Albertans the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday won’t be the usual celebration.
“One alarming trend we’ve seen in our review of current active cases is about 11 per cent of cases are attending work or social gatherings when symptomatic when awaiting test results,” she said.
“This is a significant risk and is one of the factors causing our case numbers to rise.
“I want to be clear: if you’re sick, you need to stay home, you should not go to any social gatherings.”
Those get-togethers include Thanksgiving dinners.
“If together, we cannot control the spread, we may be forced to consider additional, more restrictive measures,” warned Hinshaw.
She urged Albertans to keep gatherings limited to households and cohorts, to eat outdoors if possible, and to not share serving spoons or dishes.
“I sympathize with the desire to be with people we love most to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for, however, this is not a normal Thanksgiving.
“The greatest tragedy would be to have Thanksgiving dinner turn into an opportunity for COVID to spread to our loved ones, potentially with severe consequences.”
Alberta confirmed 578 new COVID-19 cases Monday: 97 from Friday, 263 from Saturday and 218 from Sunday.
The Edmonton zone had the highest active number of cases Monday at 982, followed by the Calgary zone at 624.
The central zone’s number of active cases rose to 22 Monday – slightly higher than Friday’s 19. One person in the zone is in the hospital – up from none on Friday.
The City of Red Deer’s active cases went down to four Monday from Friday’s five.
The increasing number of active cases in the Edmonton zone is concerning, said Hinshaw.
Hinshaw said through conversations with local public health officials and the City of Edmonton, the province is determining if additional measures should be recommended in the capital to bring the number of cases down.
Eight people in the province died over the weekend, bringing the total death toll to 280. None of those deaths were in the central Alberta zone.
To date, 647 people have recovered from the virus in the central zone.
Lacombe County had one active case Monday, there were two in the City of Lacombe, four in Ponoka County, one in the County of Wetaskiwin, two in the County of Stettler, one in the Town of Olds and two in Mountain View County.
There are no active cases in the Town of Sylvan Lake, Red Deer County, City of Wetaskiwin, Clearwater County, Kneehill County and Starland County.
Sixty-two people were in hospital in the province Monday, with 14 in intensive care.
Hinshaw said there are active alerts or outbreaks in 149 schools (mostly in Calgary and Edmonton) – which is about six per cent of all the schools in the province.
Currently, these schools have 319 active cases in total. That includes 65 schools on outbreaks and 10 on the province’s watch list.
The Alberta government defines an outbreak as two confirmed cases in a school.