Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

COVID cases increase by about 800 on Thursday

AHS no longer able to keep up with contact tracing: Hinshaw

The provincial government was still having trouble with its COVID-19 reporting system and was only able to present approximate numbers Thursday.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said her team has been working to fix technical bugs in the data, but that issue was not resolved Thursday.

She did say the province had about 800 cases identified in the past 24 hours, and unless the numbers drop dramatically, the government needs to enact stricter measures.

Hinshaw explained one concerning aspects of the data is how many Albertans have attended work or social gatherings while symptomatic.

“We must protect our health system by reducing community transmission. The fact we are now reporting 800 new cases is extremely concerning,” Hinshaw said.

“It is most concerning that the measures we introduced 10 days ago, which may have helped cases plateau over the last two days, are not having enough of an effect.

“It means in seven to 10 days from now, our hospital numbers will rise further, which means care for Albertans with other issues, besides COVID, will be impacted.”

Hinshaw explained that by far the No. 1 driver in new cases is spread in households and private gatherings. She said about 40 per cent of current cases in Calgary and Edmonton, as of Wednesday, were exposed in their household or private event.

“If we could reduce cases in this area alone, then we would be quickly able to bend the curve back down,” she said, adding many cases also have no known source.

With cases rising, Alberta Health Services no longer has the capacity to reach out to every known contact in a reasonable time frame. That prompted Hinshaw to issue an interim measure: AHS will be focusing contract tracing on high-priority settings only.

“Every confirmed case will still get a call from AHS to identify whether they have a link to a high-priority setting, like a continuing care facility, health setting or school,” she said.

Hinshaw added Thursday that more than 45 municipalities are on watch, with 50 active cases per 100,000 people. She added that more than 29 have over 100 cases per 100,000 people.

The Alberta government was unable to provide updated numbers for the central zone Thursday. Wednesday, the zone had 224 cases.

As of Wednesday’s update, Red Deer has 63 active COVID cases, up from 60 reported earlier in the week.

The City of Wetaskiwin was at 25 active cases, and the County of Wetaskiwin has one active.

The City of Camrose was at 19 active cases and Camrose County had two active.

Lacombe has eight active cases and Lacombe County sits at three active. Sylvan Lake is at seven active cases of the virus and Olds has three active cases.

Rocky Mountain House has four active and Mountain View County sits at seven active.

Kneehill County has 12 active cases.

Earlier Thursday, three COVID-19 cases were reported at two Red Deer schools.

Two cases were diagnosed in individuals from Normandeau School, and one case was diagnosed at Hunting Hills High School.

Red Deer Public Schools said letters were issued to families to ensure they were notified first.

The school district is working closely with Alberta Health Services to ensure necessary measures are in place to protect all students.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at Rideau Cottage during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Feds spending plan heads to confidence vote as provinces seek more health-care cash

OTTAWA — Provinces are criticizing the federal Liberals for failing to signal… Continue reading

In this Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 file photo, Herman Termeer, 54, stands on the roof of his home as the Blue Ridge Fire burns along the hillside in Chino Hills, Calif. An overheating world obliterated weather records in 2020 — an extreme year for hurricanes, wildfires, heat waves, floods, droughts and ice melt — the United Nations’ weather agency reported Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
UN calls on humanity to end ‘war on nature,’ go carbon-free

As an extreme year for hurricanes, wildfires and heat waves comes to… Continue reading

John Lambert
Military identifies remains of Newfoundland soldier killed in Belgium in 1917

OTTAWA — More than 100 years after a young soldier from Newfoundland… Continue reading

Military police officers carry a bag filled with money left behind by armed bank robbers, in Criciuma, Santa Catarina state, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Dozens of criminals armed with assault rifles invaded the city in southern Brazil overnight and took control of the streets as they assaulted a local bank. (Guilherme Hahn/Futura Press via AP)
Massed Brazilian bank robbers attack another city, kill 1

RIO DE JANEIRO — A large gang of heavily armed bank robbers… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo.)
Red Deer city council holds closed-door discussion about proposed aquatics centre

Recommended design, cost and location won’t be made public until next spring

In this May 16, 2019, file photo, Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff speaks during a news conference, in Indianapolis. In a deal announced Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, business software pioneer Salesforce.com is buying work-chatting service Slack for $27.7 billion in a deal aimed at giving the two companies a better shot at competing against longtime industry powerhouse Microsoft. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Salesforce buying work-chat service Slack for $27.7 billion

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Business software pioneer Salesforce.com is buying work-chatting service… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks remotely during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony from members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on how to safely open the country and get America back to work and school. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
People magazine reveals its ‘2020 People of the Year’

LOS ANGELES — People magazine has named George Clooney, Dr. Anthony Fauci,… Continue reading

Zeke Thurston, of Big Valley, Alta., rides Lunatic Party during saddle bronc rodeo semi-final action at the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Sunday, July 14, 2019. Thurston is among five Canadians competing in the 2020 world championship of rodeo Dec. 3-12 in Arlington, Texas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Rough ride to National Finals Rodeo for Canadians in pandemic season

Levi Simpson and his horse Stetson are about to trample the turf… Continue reading

Team Manitoba celebrate after defeating Team Ontario to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Curling Canada wants Calgary's Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season's top events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
CP NewsAlert: Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

CP NewsAlert: Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney watches late in the second half of the team's MLS Cup soccer match against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Seattle. Vanney has stepped down as coach of Toronto FC. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo-Elaine Thompson
Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney steps down, says it’s the right time to move on

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney steps down, says it’s the right time to move on

Hamilton Forge FC's Giuliano Frano (8) heads the ball against CD Olimpia's Jorge Benguche (9) during Scotiabank CONCACAF League 2019 second half soccer action in Hamilton, Ontario on Thursday, August 22, 2019. Forge FC looks to win its way into the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday when it takes on Haiti's Arcahaie FC in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF League, a 22-team feeder competition that sends six clubs to CONCACAF's elite club tournament. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Forge FC loses penalty shootout to Haitian side in CONCACAF League quarterfinal

Forge FC loses penalty shootout to Haitian side in CONCACAF League quarterfinal

Public health must balance science and society: former top doctor

Public health must balance science and society: former top doctor

California boat captain indicted in fire that killed 34

California boat captain indicted in fire that killed 34

Most Read