Dr. Deena Hinshaw delivered another dose of good news to Albertans on Thursday.
In her twice-weekly briefing, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said she has been encouraged by recent results, noting the number of cases per day has been under 100 for the past five days.
She said there were 56 additional cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 1,107.
She added that almost 10,000 Albertans have recovered from the virus and more than 730,000 tests have been completed across the province. That equates to nearly one in seven Albertans getting a COVID-19 test.
“(Thursday’s) case numbers continue a week-long trend of fewer than 100 new cases per day. I am cautiously optimistic that Albertans are taking health measures more seriously,” Hinshaw said.
“We are not out of the woods yet. The spread of the virus over the coming weeks will depend on the choices we make this weekend, in the days and weeks ahead. The recent cases we have identified are not limited to one region or age group in the province.”
Hinshaw also announced there are still 76 people in hospital across Alberta, with 19 patients in the ICU. There were also two additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 205.
In the central zone, there are now 186 active cases, with 295 recovered. Red Deer still has 10 active cases, while Lacome County sits at seven active cases and Red Deer County is at four active cases.
The County of Stettler is down to seven active cases, while Beaver County is at 65 active cases and Starland County is at 60.
Both the City of Lacombe and Town of Sylvan Lake have two active cases.
Ponoka County and the Town of Olds have no active cases. Both the County of Wetaskiwin and the City of Wetaskiwin also have no active cases of the virus.
Hinshaw explained those accomplishments should not be ignored.
“I think whenever we see our case numbers go down, Albertans should feel collectively proud of themselves. This number decline doesn’t happen without a lot of work from a lot of people, to change the way they go about their daily lives. It doesn’t however, mean that COVID is behind us,” she said.
“We should feel collectively proud and take this as an encouragement to continue reinforcing those daily practices in our lives.”
In the Calgary zone, there are 392 active cases, with 6,149 recovered. There are 20 people still in hospital in the region, with one left in the ICU.
In the Edmonton zone, there are 325 active cases, with 1,459 people recovered. Twenty-four people are still in hospital, with eight in the ICU.
In addition to updating the province on numbers, Hinshaw also addressed the topic of vaccines. The federal government signed a deal earlier this week to secure millions of doses of a possible future vaccine.
She said while that is encouraging news, it may take many doses over many weeks for our immune system to develop disease-fighting antibodies.
“The focus on the vaccine can sometimes give a false confidence, that the end of COVID-19 is just around the corner… we cannot know when or if a highly effective vaccine will be identified,” she said.
“Even then, there is no way to know for sure when a vaccine will be available for Albertans.”
That also prompted a warning from Hinshaw for Albertans to stay diligent, as case numbers continue to fall and September quickly approaches.
“The hard truth is we will likely still be fighting COVID-19 in 2021, so we do need to build good, daily habits now,” she said.
“We have come far since March, but the basic health measures required to limit the spread remain the same… we must all embrace the changes that are part of living with COVID-19.”