Alberta’s chief medical officer of health fears the public may be becoming complacent about the threat presented by the COVID-19 virus.
“This pandemic has been a long haul and I worry that Albertans may be starting to tune the message out,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw as she provided the provincial COVID-19 update Tuesday.
“It can seem like old news and many are tired of hearing this information. As the premier and I both mentioned (Monday), we are concerned about the recent rise in cases.”
She announced 86 new cases Tuesday and added Wheatland County, near Calgary, to the outbreak watch list.
Over the weekend, the province announced 230 new COVID-19 cases. There are now 701 active cases in the province and 8,048 recovered cases. There were also two new deaths Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 163 deaths.
In Red Deer, there are still nine active cases, with 37 recovered cases. There are no active cases in Sylvan Lake, Olds, Lacombe or Wetaskiwin.
In each of Ponoka County, Red Deer County and Lacombe County, there are two active cases. The County of Stetter now has six active cases.
Drumheller has three active cases and Camrose County also has three, while the City of Camrose is at one active case. Mountain View County sits at three active cases.
The central zone has 48 active cases in total, with 92 recovered cases. Ten people are in hospital in the zone, with six people in the ICU.
The Calgary zone still has 295 active cases, with 5,250 recoveries. In the Edmonton zone, where one of the two new deaths took place, there are 198 active cases and 1,055 recoveries.
Hinshaw noted that of the 780 cases they have identified in the province over the past two weeks, 57 per cent of these patients are under the age of 40. Of these, 30 per cent haven’t been linked to a known source.
“This is a reminder that COVID-19 can spread quickly and cases can rise rapidly if we don’t all do our part. The best way to defeat the virus has not changed,” she said.
Hinshaw added that to date, 148 of the 161 deaths were individuals over the age of 70. Almost 90 per cent of people who died from COVID-19 had two or more underlying conditions.
“Every one of us acts as a shield that protects our friends, families and neighbours. By taking simple, everyday actions, we can help limit the spread, particularly to those most at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19,” she said.
Additionally, Hinshaw encouraged mask-wearing inside or in crowded places, as well as insisting that Albertans try not to overcrowd certain areas.
She reminded Albertans to stay two metres apart when possible and diligently wash their hands when heading out of the house.
“It is natural to feel a bit of COVID-19 fatigue. If anyone is tired of following the public health guidance or feels they are not at risk, please remember that your actions are protecting more than yourself,” she said.
“Anyone can become ill from this virus, but older Albertans and those with heart disease, diabetes or other underlying medical conditions are at the highest risk of experiencing severe health outcomes.”