With high rates of COVID-19, concern grows in Calgary's bedroom communities
Airdrie and Chestermere have some of the higher rates of COVID-19 in Alberta
Airdrie family physician Dr. Fozia Alvi says she had a total of two patients test positive for COVID-19 last spring — but things have changed.
"For the last two weeks, I'm getting, every day, one to two positive patients," Alvi said. "And I'm one of only 50 doctors in Airdrie."
As of Friday's provincial update, Airdrie now has 277 active cases of COVID-19, putting the community under "enhanced status," with an active case rate of 395.7 cases per a population of 100,000.
Last week, rising cases triggered Airdrie's mandatory mask bylaw. Mayor Peter Brown said the city is busy getting information out about the new restrictions announced Thursday.
"There's a lot of fear in the community," Brown said.
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Starting today, Alberta has suspended indoor group fitness programs, team sports and group performance activities, and reduced operating hours for restaurants, bars and pubs, cutting off liquor sales at 10 p.m.
Those restrictions are scheduled to last until Nov. 27, but additional restrictions could be implemented should case counts not decrease to the degree the province hopes.
All areas under enhanced status will fall under the new restrictions. That means communities like Airdrie and Chestermere are subject to the new regulations.
Brown said he wants more detailed information from the province about where cases are coming from, so people can make informed decisions.
"If we can identify, OK, are those from households, are these from a school?" Brown said. "How are they relatable to the rest of us?"
The City of Chestermere, also under enhanced status, has 60 active cases of COVID-19, representing an active case rate of 287 per 100,000.
The community has seen several outbreaks in recent days, including at a CrossFit gym, a dance studio and at a social gathering that led to at least 20 cases.
Chestermere Mayor Marshall Chalmers said it is now time for the community to consider a temporary mask bylaw.
"Just recently we've had a substantial spike, and it is very distressing to see the rise in these levels," Chalmers said. "Our council is saying, look, it's time to have this debate, even though our community has been doing very well.
"This is really the only other lever we've got left, and it's really up to the province to implement these public health measures."
Chestermere city council will debate its mask bylaw on Tuesday.
The Town of Okotoks is also under enhanced status, with 28 active cases, representing an active case rate of 80 per 100,000 population.
The Town of Cochrane is under open status with 16 active cases, representing a rate of 48 per 100,000.
Current outbreaks in Airdrie and Chestermere include:
- Abstract Dance Academy in Chestermere: 6 cases (all recovered).
- Chestermere Lake CrossFit: 15 cases (7 active, 8 recovered).
- Private gathering in Chestermere: 20 cases (13 active, 7 recovered).
- Little Angels Daycare in Airdrie: 19 cases (5 active, 14 recovered).
With files from Jennifer Lee.