“Often, especially in a smaller community, they can maintain very low rates for a long time. But it does take just one or two spreading events where you have one person who is infectious attends a large gathering to quickly catapult into many cases.”
The total number of COVID-19 cases across the province stands at 23,829. There are 3,519 active cases, up 147 from Wednesday, and 20,014 recovered, up 280.
There are currently 112 Albertans in hospital, 18 in ICU. There have been 296 deaths, no increase from Wednesday.
The province conducted 14,304 tests in the past 24 hours.
Adults aged 20-39 are the largest group of active cases. She said that young people are at the lowest risk of severe outcomes is correct, but there are other factors to consider.
“We do not yet know the long-term consequences of getting infected. We are starting to get some clues from findings from other countries that show even low-risk people could face prolonged recoveries and long-term health risks from a COVID-19 infection,” Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw flagged key pointers about celebrating Halloween but doing so in a safe manner. She said to avoid large gatherings, keep celebrations to your household and cohort and stay home and don’t hand out treats if you are feeling ill.
“Halloween is for bringing home treats, not viruses,” the chief medical officer of health said, adding she believes trick-or-treating is a safe activity if done outdoors and within a household group. She urged masks to be worn, keep distance and find creative ways to hand out pre-packaged candy only.
Following a quick turnaround of test results for Premier Jason Kenney, Hinshaw said some key decision-makers are on a list for expedited tests and that Kenney is on that list as is Hinshaw herself.
Two weeks have passed since voluntary measures were introduced in the Edmonton Zone and there has been a decline in the growth rate. Hinshaw called that proof that collectively, by making simple changes “we can reduce transmission and bend the curve.”
New surge capacity measures are being introduced in Edmonton to support patients as the number of frontline health-care personnel off due to quarantine restriction. Non-urgent surgeries and some ambulatory care clinic visits are being postponed. Hinshaw said the measures could be expanded to other parts of the province dealing with a rise in cases.
She said much of that rise is attributed to gatherings over Thanksgiving.
“People did not mean to spread COVID, but it is a reminder that social gatherings where distancing and masking are not used consistently are a significant risk for spread.”
With a rate of more than 50 active cases per 100,000 people, Brooks is on the provincial “Watch” list; Brooks’ rate is 77.7.
Lethbridge and Lethbridge County are also both on the “Watch” list at 147.5 and 75.3, respectively.
On Thursday there are 101 schools in the province where outbreaks have been declared. Alberta Health’s threshold for declaring an outbreak in school is two cases being in a school while infectious within 14 days.
No local schools are classified as having outbreaks on the provincial website. Taber’s W.R. Myers High School, added on Oct. 21, is the closest outbreak to Medicine Hat.
The website Support Our Students is tracking instances of cases in schools across the province. Medicine Hat High School is now on that list after a student tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Elm Street School and Herald School were added to the list on Oct. 5, and Ecole St. John Paul II has been on it since late August. No other city schools are on the list.
There 2,154 cases in the South Zone. There are 204 active cases and 1,923 recovered. There are currently four COVID-19 cases in hospital in the South Zone, two in the ICU. The total number of deaths in the zone is 27.
Cypress County has totaled 36 cases – three active cases and the rest recovered.
The County of Forty Mile has 44 total cases. There are three active cases and the rest are recovered.
The MD of Taber has 47 total cases — three active cases and the rest recovered.
Special Areas No. 2 has 17 total cases, one active case and the rest recovered.
Brooks has 1,146 total cases — 15 active and 1,122 are recovered. Brooks has recorded nine deaths.
The County of Newell has a total of 39 cases — five active cases, 32 recovered and there have been two deaths.
The County of Warner has 65 total cases. There is one active case, 62 are recovered cases and there have been two deaths in the county.
The City of Lethbridge has a total of 390 cases. There are 146 active cases, 242 recovered and there have been two deaths. Lethbridge County has 113 cases, 19 active cases, 93 recovered and there has been one death.
The figures on alberta.ca are “up-to-date as of end of day Oct. 21, 2020.”
Read the full Oct. 22 update from the province here.
Saskatchewan reported 60 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, four in the South Zones.
Saskatchewan has a total of 2,558 cases, 509 considered active. There are 2,024 recovered cases and there have been 25 COVID-19 deaths in the province.