Five more Covid-19 deaths at Edmonton care home, 113 new cases in province

Five more Covid-19 deaths at Edmonton care home, 113 new cases in province

EDMONTON — Five more people have died from COVID-19 at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton, bringing the total of deaths in that outbreak to 21.

“This is a stark example of the devastation this virus can cause,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday as the province reported 113 new coronavirus cases.

“We are taking this outbreak extremely seriously.”

But Hinshaw said the province would only take over operations of the long-term care home if the facility was unable to comply with mandatory public health orders.

“This has not been the case here.”

Hinshaw said Alberta Health Services has been monitoring staffing levels and that she has been assured mandatory outbreak protocols are in place. That includes twice-daily screening, widespread testing and enhanced cleaning.

Alberta has 1,408 active COVID-19 cases. Of those, 91 are in hospital and 18 are in intensive care. A total of 195 people have died.

Earlier Thursday, Calgary’s public school board outlined how it will offer online learning to families who are uncomfortable sending their children back to in-person classes in September.

Chief superintendent Christopher Usih wrote in a letter to parents that the “hub online learning approach” would be offered to students in Grades 1 through 12 only for the 2020-21 school year and would be full-time.

He said it’s a combination of online instruction and independent work and would be more stringent than the emergency-at-home learning that took place during the spring of 2020.

“It will not offer the same opportunities or supports as in-person learning,” he wrote.

“To be successful, this type of learning requires committed parent involvement and assistance.”

The board also recommends that staff and students wear masks in school and on buses, but is only making them mandatory for children who get sick while at school. In that case, a disposal mask will be provided until children can be picked up.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association has raised concern about the absence of a cap on class sizes that would ensure enough physical distancing in schools. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and others have also panned the back-to-school plan for making masks optional.

Hinshaw suggested that the plan may be tweaked in the weeks ahead as officials glean more evidence from other jurisdictions where schools have reopened.

She also detailed the results of serology tests conducted during the spring.

The tests aren’t meant to reveal whether individuals are sick or contagious, and the presence of COVID-19 antibodies does not guarantee immunity.

But Hinshaw said they provided a rough snapshot of how prevalent the virus was in the wider population and how effective testing was at that time.

“Along with the data on case numbers and hospitalizations, this indicates that Alberta’s early efforts to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19 were successful,” she said.

Anonymous blood samples from nearly 9,400 people were collected during the first week of June and less than one per cent had COVID-19 antibodies.

The findings, when applied to the broader population, suggest the province’s swab testing as of mid-May picked up 17 per cent of total infections.

“I know this number may sound low, but it’s actually very good,” she said, noting a similar British Columbia study in May found testing picked up 12.5 per cent of actual cases and other jurisdictions were much lower.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 swab tests are being expanded to any pharmacy that wants to participate and is able to meet safety requirements.

A limited number of pharmacies did more than 10,000 tests under a pilot program launched in June.

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Stettler’s Dakota Derr wins ‘Youth Citizen of the Year’

Derr has long demonstrated a passion for volunteering in the community

lights
Mark your calendars for the annual ‘Festival of Lights’ holiday events

Annual celebration raises funds in support of patient care at the Stettler Hospital

Dion
Botha’s Dion Proudfoot proves business success can come early in life

Twelve-year-old entrepreneur honoured in this year’s Best of Stettler Readers Choice Awards

farm
Researching cover crop cocktails

A tw0-year trial is looking at the impact of multispecies annual cocktail blends in the Peace Country

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read