Alberta reported 1,440 new COVID-19 cases on Monday from over the weekend, and seven additional deaths.
There were 364 new cases on Friday, 572 on Saturday and 504 on Sunday. The Saturday case number is another record for the province.
That’s identifying, on average, 480 COVID-19 cases each day over the weekend, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.
Hinshaw said one of the challenges is to find a balance between minimizing the risk of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of the harms of restrictions.
“This requires us to keep the spread of COVID-19 manageable. We’ve now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we’ve been seeking,” said Hinshaw.
The government imposed new temporary mandatory limits Monday – of 15 people – at most social gatherings for the city of Calgary and Edmonton.
In total, 118 people in Alberta are in hospitals, with 16 in intensive care.
The total number of active cases in the province sat at 4,477 Monday afternoon, up 826 from Friday’s 3,651.
The number of active cases in the central zone jumped to 162 from Friday’s 126. There are three people in hospital in the local zone with none in intensive care.
To date, there have been 953 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the local zone, with 783 recoveries.
The deaths were in the Edmonton and Calgary zones. The virus death toll is at 307.
The City of Red Deer’s active cases sit at 39, up from Friday’s 31.
A letter was sent Monday to families alerting them of a positive case of the virus at Gateway Christian School in Red Deer.
On Monday, Red Deer’s Hunting Hills High School was on the province’s watch list.
Red Deer County had 10 active cases Monday afternoon. There were two in the Town of Sylvan Lake, six in Lacombe County, one in the City of Lacombe, 45 in Ponoka County, two in County of Wetaskiwin and 11 in City of Wetaskiwin.
There were two active cases in the Town of Olds, three in Clearwater County, five in Kneehill County, four in Camrose County, six in the City of Camrose and one in the Town of Drumheller.
There are no active cases in Mountain View County, Starland County and County of Stettler.
One of the challenges of the increasing number of active cases is it creates pressure on the COVID-19 response, including contact tracing, said Hinshaw.
She said Alberta is also caught between polarizing views on the virus: on one hand, “we have to drive to zero cases,” and on another, “COVID is a mild illness for most, so we should let it spread freely and pursue herd immunity.”
“COVID is a novel disease that is not just the flu,” Hinshaw said. “It has the ability to overwhelm our health system and weaken essential services, if we let it do so.”
She encouraged Albertans to maintain respectful dialogue and to not let COVID-19 divide the province.