As Alberta added an additional 1,529 cases of COVID-19 in the province, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday she will be advising the Alberta government on new recommendations for additional restrictions.

“It’s clear that we have reached a precarious point in Alberta,” Hinshaw said in her update, which was earlier in the day so she could meet with government officials later in the afternoon.

“The virus is spreading faster and more widely than any other point in the pandemic.”

An additional five deaths were announced Monday, bringing the provincial fatalities to 476. There are now 328 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 62 who are in the ICU.

“The number of fatalities from this virus is growing,” Hinshaw said. “This is impacting the care, not only from those suffering from COVID-19 but from a wide range of other health needs.

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“This is like a snowball rolling down a hill growing bigger and faster, and it will continue unless we implement strong measures to stop. We must take action.

“Waiting any longer will impact our ability to care for Albertans in the weeks and months ahead.”

Hinshaw said she will meet with the government’s priorities implementation cabinet committee Monday afternoon, to discuss options on stricter measures in the province.

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Active case numbers have also spiked with 13,166 cases. That’s over triple the amount it was a month ago when there were 3,651 active cases.

The majority of active cases are in or around Alberta’s two largest cities, with 5,991 or 45 per cent of them in Edmonton zone and 4,845 or 37 per cent of them in Calgary zone.

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Alberta remains under restrictions that were put into place on Nov. 13 initially announced for a two-week period in an attempt to stop the rising case number and stop the health system from being overwhelmed. Those restrictions included stricter alcohol sale and closure rules for restaurants and bars, the cancellation of group fitness classes, and a request to stop having visitors in the home. Those measures will be in place until at least Nov. 27.

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‘Remain vigilant’: Hinshaw pens letter to long-term care centres

In a letter sent to families and residents of supportive living and long-term care centres in the province dated Nov. 20, Hinshaw said she remains “very concerned” for residents and asked families to continue doing all they can to avoid spreading COVID-19 in the facilities.

“I am asking for your help in protecting those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hinshaw said. “The staff of the buildings where you or your family member live are doing everything they can to keep the risk of infection low while keeping as much normalcy as possible.

“But we very much need your help. It is imperative that you remain vigilant in your actions to protect yourself and others around you.”

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Hinshaw said residents should avoid going out without a “critical need.” She also said family members wanting to visit, especially in high-risk areas like Calgary and Edmonton, should “evaluate your need to be physically present” and connect in other ways such as the telephone or digitally.

According to AHS, newly-admitted residents to long-term care centres are placed in isolation and tested for COVID-19.

While the official rules still state residents can currently still have two “designated support persons” who can visit in person, Hinshaw’s letter strongly suggests to avoid that.

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“I recognize that this continues to be a challenging time,” Hinshaw said. “Thank you for continuing to prioritize public health advice to protect your safety, and the safety of those around you.”

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Concerns grow as COVID-19 daily case records broken in 4 provinces

Concerns grow as COVID-19 daily case records broken in 4 provinces

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