Alberta reports 127 new cases of COVID-19, 1 more death ahead of long weekend
'Keep in mind that after Canada Day, we saw several events that resulted in the spread of COVID-19'
The August long weekend appears promising with temperatures in the high 20s and little rain in the forecast. But the province's top doctor is asking Albertans to "take simple precautions" in light of the ongoing pandemic.
"I know that people are excited to get outside," Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer, said Thursday. "But we must keep in mind that after Canada Day, we saw several events that resulted in the spread of COVID-19 amongst friends and families.
"This is not the only reason that our case numbers have risen but it has played a part."
On Friday, the province reported 127 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death. There are 86 people in hospital, 17 of whom are in intensive care.
The province now has 1,386 active cases, a slight decrease from the 1,408 reported on Thursday.
Here is how active cases break down among the regions:
- Calgary zone: 599 cases, down from 655 Thursday
- Edmonton zone: 278 cases, up six from Thursday
- Central zone: 254 cases, up from 201
- South zone: 147 cases, down one case
- North zone: 107 cases, down from 118
- Unknown: seven cases
The Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton reported another death among its residents, bringing the total number of deaths there to 22.
In its daily update on cases Friday, the centre indicated there have been 101 infections at the facility since the outbreak, which started on July 17.
As of Thursday, there were 49 active cases among residents and 16 among employees. Eight employees have recovered, as have six residents.
Hinshaw said she recognizes people want to socialize and "make happy, positive memories."
"I am confident that none of us want to have those memories spoiled with a loved one getting sick or with friends and family having to isolate because we didn't take simple precautions," she said.
She said she sympathizes with people feeling frustrated at being told all the things that they can't do.
"Instead, this weekend let's all think about what we can do and how to do it safely," she said.
"We can enjoy camping, going to a restaurant, having a barbecue, watching a hockey game with friends and family, or visiting a loved one at a continuing care facility. To do these things, we just need to make a few adjustments to make sure we are following public health guidelines."
Tips for a safe weekend
Hinshaw offered a few tips to help celebrate the long weekend more safely.
- If going camping or to the beach, limit making stops at small communities along the way.
- If destination is too crowded when you arrive, have a backup plan
- If having people over for dinner or to watch hockey, arrange an outdoor gathering keeping in mind two-metre separation.
- Encourage everyone to bring their own food, drinks and cutlery.
- Following care facility policies when visiting loved one in a continuing care.
- Physical distance, wear a mask and wash your hands.
"Be a champion for safety and speak up if others are unsure on how to follow public health guidance," Hinshaw said. "While it may be disappointing, the greatest thing you can do for all your loved ones is stay home if you are feeling unwell and arrange for testing."