Friday saw another increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.
There are 107 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the provincial total to 1,075 and five new deaths for a total of 18. Before Friday’s update, there were 968 cases and 13 deaths.
There was one new case in Red Deer and are now 25 confirmed cases in the area, 10 total in Red Deer County, three in Lacombe, one in Innisfail, one in Stettler and county, and one in Olds.
Premier Jason Kenney, announced the latest statistics at the provincial government’s daily press conference Friday afternoon.
Kenney said the province now has enough data for projection modeling of the outbreak and that information will be released next week.
“I can assure Albertans today, however, that the modeling indicates that we have the healthcare equipment, personal and supplies needed to cope with anticipated hospitalization and intensive care units, including the usage of ventilators,” Kenney said at the daily provincial COVID-19 update.
“Our relative success so far is a testament to the effectiveness of our pandemic response planning countermeasures, the skill and effort of Alberta’s frontline healthcare workers and the co-operation of the vast majority of Albertans, in doing their part to contain the spread of the virus.”
Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House and Rimbey currently have no confirmed case of the virus, according to the government’s website.
Four of Friday’s new deaths due to COVID-19 were in Calgary at the MacKenzie Towne continuing care Centre. A woman in her 20s from Edmonton has also died as a result of the infection.
“This is a tragic reminder that it is not only the elderly and those with underlying conditions who are at risk,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
Hinshaw added that the large increase in cases in Alberta recently was partially due to a backlog in tests. Alberta now has over 60,00o completed tests which is 13,600 per million, significantly higher than any other province, as well as most countries around the world.
According to the daily update, there is now evidence of 137 cases of community transmission, up 29 from Thursday. One-hundred and ninety-six people have now also recovered from COVID-19, up from 174 Thursday.
One additional preventative measure Alberta Health Services announced Friday was limiting visitors to hospitals. With few expectations, patients in hospitals will no longer be able to have any visitors.
“Please plan to support loved ones in hospital with virtual visits,” Hinshaw said.
Hinshaw also indicated that the government has shifted its testing approach and instead of testing returning travelers with mild symptoms, focused on at-risk populations and those at the highest risk of local exposure, such as health care workers.
“We need to use resources effectively to protect people at risk and quickly identify spread in the community,” she said.
In Canada, there are now 12,375 cases of COVID-19 and 208 deaths.