One of the 11 people that died of COVID-19 in Alberta on Tuesday was a man in his 30s from the Edmonton zone.
Eight of the deaths are linked to outbreaks at hospitals and continuing care homes in the Edmonton and Calgary zone.
“This is deadly serious,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. “I’ve asked for kindness, but I also ask for firmness and need to control our spread and protect our health system. [That] is why I asked everyone anywhere in the province to abide by all public health measures.”
Hinshaw also reported 730 new cases of the coronavirus after approximately 13,000 tests, increasing the current count to 10,057 infections.
Alberta hospitals have 287 patients with COVID-19, including 57 people in intensive care.
“I continue to be concerned about these numbers as the human costs of COVID are rising rapidly,” Hinshaw said.
“Almost a quarter of all our COVID-19 deaths have happened since Nov. 1. If we do not change our trajectory, the implications are grim. The daily COVID-19 death count is a tragic reminder that COVID-19 is not just a flu. It is life and death and often it is the outcome of choices made by Albertans who may not even know the victims.”
A total of 432 Albertans have died after falling ill with the coronavirus.
WHERE ARE ALBERTANS CONTRACTING COVID-19?
Health officials know that approximately 40 per cent of the 41,692 Albertans who have been infected since March contracted the disease in households and private parties; 10 per cent at continuing care homes; three per cent at acute care facilities; four per cent at K-12 schools and daycares; and six per cent linked to other sources.
Furthermore, as many as 75 per cent of the current active 10,057 cases in the province were contracted from an unknown source.
“Almost one in three cases are getting sick from sources we can’t identify,” Hinshaw said.
“Every day, about 250 to 350 people are getting sick and we have been unable to identify the source of transmission. This puts us all at greater risk. This is why we put in place the measures we did last week. The measures are focused on settings where there is highest risk on one case spreading to many if there is a slip in public health measures.”
Last Thursday, Premier Jason Kenney and Hinshaw suspended group fitness and team sports and ordered restaurants and bars to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and close at 11 p.m.
The new restrictions were put in place for two weeks, but Hinshaw says some are bending the rules.
“I am disappointed at reports of organizations and businesses that are trying to find loopholes in the order and our continuing activities. I have seen examples of fitness studios running group classes with a video, rather than an instructor. Some team sport practices have continued by moving to neighbouring communities…and some teams continue to socialize together, simply because they’re in a cohort, as a team.
“Let me be clear: The intent of these measures is to facilitate a two-week hard stop of all activity that can provide opportunity for large scale COVID spread.”
VACCINE ON THE WAY
Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine could arrive in Alberta in early 2021.
The federal government has signed deals worth tens of millions of dollars with both companies who say their vaccines are currently more than 90 per cent effective.
It will first be given to the most vulnerable, health care workers and continuing care residents, Shandro said.