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Alberta's active cases of COVID-19 top 14,000, with 10 more deaths reported

Active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta topped 14,000 on Thursday, setting another new record, with 10 more deaths reported.

Four weeks ago, Alberta had 4,921 active cases. On Thursday, there were 14,052

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updated the province of the COVID-19 pandemic at a news conference on Thursday. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta topped 14,000 on Thursday, setting another new record, with 10 more deaths reported.

Across the province, 383 people were being treated in hospital for the illness, with 84 of them in ICU beds.

Both numbers, which shattered yesterday's records, are considered key measures in the battle against the disease.

In the coming weeks, Alberta Health Services plans to roll out more than 100,000 rapid COVID-19 testing kits, which will be sent to targeted sites.

Over the last two months, AHS has been evaluating the effectiveness of the Abbott IDNow and PanBio COVID-19 testing kits, the province said in a news release.

The rapid tests will be rolled out in clinical pilot projects at an assessment centre in Calgary and one in Edmonton, at assessment centres in Slave Lake and St. Paul, and at the hospital lab in Bonnyville.

"Rapid tests are only valid for symptomatic folks who have shown symptoms in the last seven days," Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday at a news conference. "So these tests are not for close contacts, nor are they for those who may have been exposed but are asymptomatic."

The tests, he said, will be used on patients who are within the first seven days of showing symptoms.

"This will allow us to quickly identify and notify positive cases within hours, reducing the need for patient samples to be transported to centralized public laboratories for processing."

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, updated on the pandemic at that same news conference.

During her update, Hinshaw commended the nearly 1.3 million Albertans who have now gotten their immunization for influenza this year. That's 228,000 more people than had done so at the same time last year. So far, she said, the province has not seen a single lab-confirmed case of seasonal influenza.

"We know that influenza hits at different times of the year depending on the season, so it's not scientifically useful to compare numbers until the very end of the year," she said. "But at this time last year, we had already 464 cases. This does not mean that influenza is no longer a threat, but it is a reminder that there is hope and that our actions can help protect each other from a wide range of illnesses.

"Unfortunately, COVID-19 is more contagious than influenza and for some people far more deadly."

A comparison of statistics shows how much has changed in the past four weeks.

Since hospitalization numbers are key, let's start with those.

  • On Oct. 28, 130 people were in hospital due to COVID-19, including 18 in intensive care beds. 
  • On Thursday, 383 people were in hospital due to COVID-19, including 84 in ICU.

Next we can look at case numbers.

  • On Oct. 28, the province reported 477 new cases and a total of 4,921 active cases.
  • On Thursday, 1,077 new cases were identified and we had a total of 14,052 active cases.

A regional breakdown of active case numbers looked like this:

  • Oct. 28, Calgary zone: 1,879 active cases.
  • Thursday, Calgary zone: 5,126 active cases.
  • Oct. 28, Edmonton zone: 2,277 active cases.
  • Thursday, 6,444 active cases.
  • Oct. 28, South zone: 256 active cases.
  • Thursday, South zone: 664 active cases.
  • Oct. 28, North zone: 325 active cases.
  • Thursday, North zone: 789 active cases.
  • Oct. 28, Central zone: 162 active cases.
  • Thursday, Central zone: 947 active cases.
  • Oct. 28, Unknown zone, 22 active cases.
  • Thursday, Unknown zone, 82 active cases

Then we can look at testing.

  • On Oct. 28, provincial labs completed 12,153 tests, and the positivity rate was about four per cent.
  • On Thursday, provincial labs completed 15,932 tests, and the positivity rate was 6.87 per cent.

In the end, it adds up to this grim total.

  • On Oct. 28, the provincial death toll stood at 323.
  • By Thursday, the provincial death toll had reached 510.

Another 10 deaths were reported on Thursday:

  • A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Mayerthorpe Extendicare in the North zone.
  • A woman in her 80s linked to the outbreak at Covenant Care Chateau Vitaline in the Edmonton zone.
  • A woman  in her 80s linked to the outbreak at Mount Royal Revera in the Calgary zone.
  • A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence in the Edmonton zone.
  • A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Luxstone Manor in the Calgary zone.
  • A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre.
  • A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Capital Care Strathcona.
  • A man in his 70s from the Edmonton zone.
  • A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at South Country Village in the South zone.
  • A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Covenant Care Chateau Vitaline in the Edmonton zone.

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