The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Alberta. Recent infections include two connected to Red Deer College as well as at two more Red Deer schools. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

896 new COVID cases reported in Alberta

Alberta reported almost 900 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and four additional virus-related deaths, including one in the central zone.

There was a total of 896 new confirmed cases from the weekend: 311 on Friday, 231 on Saturday and 356 on Sunday.

Red Deer College confirmed two COVID-19 infections Monday, just days after two more Red Deer schools confirmed more incidents of the virus.

The two individuals last attended RDC’s main campus on Oct. 8 and did not display any symptoms of COVID-19 until days later, the college says.

People who are known to have been in close contact with the ill individuals on RDC’s campus are self-isolating as a precaution.

“I would like to extend my best wishes to the members of our college community as they begin the road to recovery in isolation. It is crucial that we support the individuals, and one another, during the challenging circumstances of the pandemic,” says RDC president Peter Nunoda.

Parents and guardians at Annie L. Gaetz Elementary and Westpark Middle School in Red Deer have received letters stating an individual at each of the schools has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Both letters state the individual was not infectious while at school, and consequently, students and staff in the classes of the infected person will not be required to isolate.

“As this individual followed the correct protocol and stayed home when ill, our staff and students will continue learning as per normal,” both letters dated Saturday say.

Hunting Hills High School in Red Deer confirmed a fifth case of COVID-19 on Friday. The school is on the province’s watch list, along with several other schools mostly from Edmonton and Calgary.

“All five of these cases are linked to each other outside of school,” Hunting Hills principal Darwin Roscoe said in an email to parents.

Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School and Escuela Vista Grande each had a case of the virus in September.

Red Deer College says it has taken many steps to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Work-related travel restrictions for all faculty and staff were implemented in March, for example. The majority of courses for the fall term are being delivered online, largely reducing the number of people on campus.

Physical distancing has been strongly encouraged at the college throughout the pandemic and face coverings in common areas became mandatory on Aug. 24.

Some sections on campus have been closed to help reduce traffic, and enhanced cleaning protocols have continued.

“Through careful planning, our top priority is to always create a safe environment. I encourage anyone from the college community, including those who have been affected by this news, to use the available resources from RDC and Alberta Health Services as we navigate through this pandemic collaboratively,” says Nunoda.

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