Alberta reports 426 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, 2 more deaths
Dr. Deena Hinshaw reports 57 confirmed cases in an outbreak at a Calgary church
Alberta's chief medical officer of health reported 426 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, with two more deaths.
There were 133 new cases reported for Friday, 184 for Saturday and 109 for Sunday, Dr Deena Hinshaw said Monday.
Saturday's tally is the highest number of new cases reported for a single day since April 30, when 228 cases were reported.
There are now 1,370 active cases in the province, compared to 1,158 reported on Thursday. The two deaths, a man in his 80s in the Edmonton zone and a man in his 90s in the North zone, bring the total number to 239.
"The latest numbers are raising concerns," Hinshaw said Monday.
"We don't know the details yet as this outbreak has just been reported to us so it's too early to be able to say exactly how the virus may have spread," Hinshaw said.
"We know from a few of the outbreaks that we've seen in the last several weeks that sometimes it's possible, again, for the wrong person to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Spread can happen when a person is infectious without knowing it, she said.
Hinshaw also urged Albertans not to forget that outbreaks can occur anywhere, and those involved "need our compassion in this difficult time."
"It is critical as always that members of this church be supported and not targeted or stigmatized," she said.
Hinshaw also reported an outbreak of eight active cases at the Walmart Supercentre in Edmonton on Calgary Trail.
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Across the province, 44 people were being treated in hospital for COVID-19, including eight in ICU beds.
The regional breakdown of active cases reported on Monday was:
- Calgary zone: 590, up from 375 Thursday
- Edmonton zone: 551, down from 589 Thursday
- North zone: 174, up from 148
- Central zone: 27, up from 25
- South zone: 24, up from 18
- Unknown: four, up from three
Back to school in other places
Hinshaw also talked about the safety of students returning to school this week.
"I think it's important to remember that there are many places around the world that have reopened schools and there have been different experiences," she said.
"One example to highlight is Scotland's choice, when they went back to school, to actually not require any physical distancing between students both in lower grades and upper grades. At Scotland, schools opened on Aug. 18 and to date — again, it's just a few weeks — but so far there haven't been significant outbreaks noted."
Hinshaw did, however, point to a high school in Israel that saw a significant outbreak shortly after reopening.
"We're not, again, taking this lightly, but I think what we need to do is look at all of our options, use what tools we have available to us and then adjust if needed as we have the experience with our re-entry model."
In her last update, last Thursday, Hinshaw said returning tens of thousands of Alberta students back to school is the right step.
"I think there is no one perfect way to go back to school," Hinshaw said.
"And I am convinced that it is critical to help our children get back into school in person, and to work on balancing the risks of COVID-19 with the risks of all of the other things that our children face — the risks of not being in school, for example."
Hinshaw's next news conference will be this Thursday, Sept. 3.