Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

Alberta’s COVID-19 death toll reached 500 people on Wednesday.

Just 24 hours after Premier Jason Kenney announced stricter measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the number of deaths is a reminder of the harsh realities of the virus.

“This is a tragic milestone. My sympathy goes out to the loved ones and friends of these individuals who are mourning the lives lost of what is a very difficult time to grieve,” Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw announced the province now has 13,719 active cases and completed more than 15,644 tests in the past 24 hours.

With the additional 1,265 cases reported Wednesday, Alberta’s test positivity rate is more than eight per cent. There are now 355 people in hospital, including 71 in the ICU.

The central zone is up to 876 active cases, with 17 people in the hospital and four in the ICU. In the Calgary zone, there are 5,028 active cases and the Edmonton zone sits at 6,268.

Red Deer is up to 149 active cases and Red Deer County has 50 active cases. Sylvan Lake has 36 active cases, Lacombe has 19 and Olds has 15 active cases.

Lacombe County sits at 30 active cases and Camrose County has 22. Ponoka County has 216 active cases and Wetaskiwin County sits at 18. The City of Wetaskiwin has 66 active cases.

Mountain View County has 10 active cases and Kneehill County sits at 13 active cases.

RELATED:

POLL: When a COVID-19 vaccine is available, will you get the shot?

Kenney declares state of public health emergency as COVID-19 cases rise

Veer urges indoor mask wearing immediately

Hinshaw said Wednesday that the new COVID-19 measures, which have a three-week timeline, allow the government to see the full effect of the precautions. She said it is possible that in just a week, they could see an impact from the enhanced steps.

“We can start seeing trends earlier and we won’t be waiting for that three-week mark before we do any monitoring,” she said.

Hinshaw also clarified that while the government put a ban on social gatherings, it does not apply to caregivers or co-parenting situations.

If individuals do have an outdoor gathering of 10 people or less, if they go inside, it is considered an indoor gathering.

“The more that each of us goes the extra mile, the more effective we will be in reducing the spread in the next few weeks. We are in this together and we will get through this together,” she said.

Hinshaw also noted that the province has received rapid tests from the federal government and one batch has been deployed into health-care settings. Details on the second batch will be available later this week.

There are active alerts or outbreaks in 348 schools, which is about 15 per cent of the province’s schools. These schools have a combined total of 1,207 active cases and that includes 179 schools and 71 that are on the watch list.

“We need Albertans to do their part. We need Albertans to follow every measure… just as we all need to work together to be successful. The restrictions in place are only successful if they all work together. Please do not ignore the measures that seem inconvenient to you,” she said.

As Red Deer’s mask bylaw comes into effect next week, the Town of Blackfalds also announced its own face-covering bylaw Wednesday.

It will also come into effect on Nov. 30 until further notice and it will apply to any indoor public space and on public transit.

It also includes businesses and municipal buildings.

Anyone not wearing a mask could face a $100 fine or more. The bylaw will be reviewed during the first council meeting in January.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

Stettler resident Jaden Norman is pictured here outside of the Stettler Learning Centre where she lends a helping hand as a volunteer tutor. photo contributed
Stettler’s Jaden Norman has discovered the many joys of giving back

National Volunteer Week runs April 18th to 24th

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Most Read