Hin­shaw says Al­berta not in a sec­ond wave

Medicine Hat News - - COMMUNITY-WEST -

Al­berta’s chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health says the prov­ince is not in a sec­ond wave of COVID-19 de­spite in­creased daily case num­bers in re­cent months.

Dr. Deena Hin­shaw said Thurs­day that Al­berta had iden­ti­fied 158 new cases in the prov­ince.

She said that doesn’t mean Al­berta is see­ing a surge in in­fec­tions, al­though some prov­inces may have de­ter­mined their sec­ond wave has be­gun.

“In Al­berta, I don’t think that’s where we’re at right now. We have seen in­creased daily case counts for the past few months, but those have re­mained rel­a­tively sta­ble,” Hin­shaw told a news con­fer­ence.

“When I think about a sec­ond wave, I think about a very large spike of un­con­trolled spread and that’s not our only pos­si­ble fu­ture.”

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau painted a bleaker pic­ture in a na­tional ad­dress Wed­nes­day, say­ing a sec­ond wave is al­ready un­der­way in Canada’s four largest prov­inces, re­fer­ring to On­tario, Que­bec, Bri­tish Columbia and Al­berta.

“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring,” Trudeau said. “It’s all too likely we won’t be gath­er­ing for Thanks­giv­ing, but we still have a shot at Christ­mas.”

Hin­shaw said Thanks­giv­ing in Al­berta is not go­ing to be the same as it would be pre-pan­demic but it can still hap­pen as long as peo­ple show a proper amount of cau­tion.

“It’s nat­u­ral for peo­ple to want to come to­gether and cel­e­brate Thanks­giv­ing with a new level of ap­pre­ci­a­tion. We all want Thanks­giv­ing to be a safe hol­i­day that keeps ev­ery­one healthy,” Hin­shaw said.

“It’s best to keep gath­er­ings within your es­tab­lished co­horts of up to 15 peo­ple out­side your house­hold. Smaller is safer. This is not the time for large gath­er­ings.”

Hin­shaw said there are cur­rently ac­tive alerts or outbreaks at 97 Al­berta schools, in­clud­ing 163 ac­tive cases.

She said the peak of weekly cases for stu­dents aged five to 19 was 216 back in April. But since the cur­rent school year be­gan at the begin­ning of Septem­ber, the num­bers have dropped.

“We have ac­tu­ally seen a week-over-week de­crease from 205 to 183 to 122 cases per week in school-aged chil­dren. This is de­spite a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in test­ing.”

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