Alberta has 679 active cases of COVID-19, lowest number since March 30
Province reports first possible case of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children
There were 679 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, the lowest daily number since March 30.
The province reported two more deaths, and 25 new cases of the illness.
Alberta also reported its first possible case of a new condition called Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, which has been reported in several other parts of the world.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the syndrome is similar to an inflammatory disease known as Kawasaki disease, and responds to treatments such as steroids.
It has been seen in the United Kingdom, Italy, Quebec and the United States. Potential cases are being investigated in other Canadian provinces.
"Today I am announcing that one possible case of MIS-C is being investigated in Alberta this week," Hinshaw said Wednesday at a news conference.
The child is in stable condition in hospital, she said.
Inflammation of organs
The reported cases in other jurisdictions involve children and adolescents with recent infections with the virus, Hinshaw said. The syndrome seemed to develop several weeks to a month after an infection.
MIS-C involves inflammation of multiple organs, including the heart, kidneys, blood vessels and nervous system. Fever is a key feature, and other symptoms can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
"The early information available suggests that the majority of children who have COVID-19 would not be expected to experience this syndrome," Hinshaw said.
"However, we are making this disease reportable in order to monitor any cases that might occur, and to improve our understanding of this illness.
The province is developing guidelines aligned with global reporting standards to help doctors diagnose and report the condition to public health authorities, she said.
"I know this new condition might be scary for parents," she said.
"I worry for my kids, too. It is important to remember that this condition appears to be rare, and it is treatable. It is, however, a reminder that we continue to learn new things about this virus, and that we must continue to be cautious in our relaunch."
Similar to Kawasaki disease
Public health officials are working to make sure that pediatricians, family physicians, rheumatologists and infectious disease specialists who may be treating children are aware of the requirement to report the condition, and know that Alberta is defining it based on international criteria.
"The syndrome is very similar to a syndrome called Kawasaki disease, which is something that has been around for many years," Hinshaw said.
"And so I think what we're doing is less preparing the system for something entirely new, and more making sure that people are aware that this very similar syndrome seems to be related to a recent history of COVID infection, and the need to consider COVID and COVID exposure history.
"And so that's more what we're doing, and I anticipate our system is well prepared to handle this."
In other jurisdictions, a relatively small proportion of children infected with COVID-19 go on to develop the syndrome, Hinshaw said.
She said she couldn't give any identifying information about the case, except to say the child is being treated in hospital.
"The case is currently under investigation with respect to the criteria for this, because we are just in the process of making this reportable," she said of the syndrome. "So we are just working on confirming some of those details."
Two key dates
For those closely following the COVID-19 numbers in Alberta, two key dates to think about are April 12 and April 30.
On April 12, the province had 714 active cases of the illness, and that total was growing each day.
The daily number of active cases peaked on April 30 at 3,130, and since then has been steadily declining.
On Tuesday, the province once again had exactly 714 active cases.
That number has now dropped to 679.
The regional breakdown of active cases as of Wednesday was:
- Calgary zone: 531.
- South zone: 71.
- Edmonton zone: 52.
- North zone: 21.
- Central zone: 2.
Two active cases were from unknown zones.
On April 12, 44 people were in hospital, with 14 of them in intensive-care units.
On Wednesday, 43 people were in hospital, with four of them in ICU beds.
It took 44 days for the numbers to rise and fall back to those levels.
Over that period of time, more than 146,000 people have been tested, thousands have been infected and have recovered.
Over that period of time, the death toll has climbed from 44 to 141.
A total of 6,106 people have now recovered from the disease.