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Alberta sees a welcome drop in new and active Covid-19 cases today

Wednesday, 18 November 2020. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Alberta sees a welcome drop in new and active Covid-19 cases today

Pincher Creek region and Crowsnest Pass
retain open status

South zone Covid-19 update
Compiled by Shannon Robison, Publisher

“The real human costs of unemployment, bankrupt businesses and isolation are costs of social restrictions that we would all like to avoid,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, in her live update this afternoon.

“The real human costs of increased deaths, strain on the health system, exhausted health-care workers and delayed access to care for things other than Covid are also costs that none of us want to pay. We are in a terrible situation, and it is Covid-19 that is the problem, not each other.”

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The rise in Covid-related hospitalizations, ICU admissions and the number of health-care workers isolating due to potential exposure continues to stress the province’s health-care system.

Dr. Hinshaw said AHS initiated surge-capacity measures in the Edmonton zone in early November and have been implemented in other zones as necessary. 

Increasing hospital space for Covid patients means decreasing the number of other patients in hospitals by reducing scheduled or elective surgeries and other procedures that might require overnight stays, and reducing ambulatory clinic visits.

She noted that AHS has contingency plans in place to ensure beds are available, if needed, to provide care for patients with Covid-19.

Hospitals are increasing space by opening units not currently in operation and equipping and maximizing other spaces in a safe manner.

AHS is increasing ICU capacity across the province through creating temporary space in areas that would otherwise be used to care for patients with other conditions requiring specialized care, such as cardiac units, post-operative recovery areas and other areas able to support ventilators and cardiac monitoring.

“In short, AHS is preparing and working hard to meet demands,” Dr. Hinshaw said. “But there are consequences to these measures in delayed access to non-Covid care and there is a ceiling to capacity expansion.”

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Eleven new deaths were reported today and Dr. Hinshaw noted that nearly 25 per cent of Alberta’s deaths related to Covid-19 have occurred since Nov. 1 — 25 per cent in 17 days …

“The daily Covid-19 death count is a tragic reminder that Covid-19 is not just a flu, it is life and death,” she said. “And often, it is the outcome of choices made by Albertans who many not even know the victims.”

Almost one in three people confirmed to have Covid-19 cannot identify the source of transmission.

Overall, as of Nov. 15, about 40 per cent of cases are linked to a household or social gathering, or private event; 10 per cent are linked to continuing care; four per cent to childcare of K-12 schools; and three per cent to acute-care outbreaks.

For the other 30 percent, the source remains unknown.

“This puts us all at greater risk,” said Dr. Hinshaw.

She gave examples of organizations and businesses continuing activities and trying to find loopholes in public health orders to do so. 

“Let me be clear, the intent of these measures is to facilitate a two-week hard stop of all activity that can provide opportunity for large-scale Covid spread,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

“These actions risk not just further restrictions on their own businesses and activities, but further restrictions for all those who are choosing to comply and going above and beyond as well.”

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Alberta Overview

Tuesday, Nov. 17 – 41,692 total cases
Data updated Wednesday, Nov. 18

730 new cases were reported in today’s update.

Dr. Hinshaw said today that about 13,000 tests were conducted and the current provincial positivity rate is about 5.5 per cent, an improvement from 7 per cent on Monday.

There are 10,057 active cases, a decrease of 11 since yesterday.

730 recoveries brings the total to 31,192 for a recovery rate of about 76 per cent.

287 people are hospitalized with 57 admitted to intensive care units.

11 new deaths were reported today — six in the Edmonton zone, three in the Calgary zone, one in the central zone and one in the north zone.

443 Albertans have now died, giving Covid-19 a mortality rate of about 1.1 per cent in the province.

167 schools have outbreaks of two or more active cases including 64 on watch due to having five or more. 

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Many areas of the province are currently under “enhanced watch” status with additional mandatory and voluntary measures in place.

These extra precautions apply when there are a minimum of 10 active cases AND an equivalent of 50 or more active cases per 100,000. Areas with “enhanced” status and other specific urban centres are required to follow new mandatory restrictions.

South zone areas with enhanced status are Cardston County, Fort Macleod, City of Lethbridge, Lethbridge County, MD of Taber, County of Newell, City of Brooks, County of Forty Mile, City of Medicine Hat and Cypress County. 

Pincher Creek region, Crowsnest Pass, Waterton, County of Warner and Oyen are the south zone areas with “open” status at this time.

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What does this mean for areas with “open” status?

Pincher Creek Region, Crowsnest Pass, Waterton, County of Warner and Oyen will not move to enhanced status unless they get to the point of having 10 active cases of Covid-19, even though the rate per 100,000 will pass 50 before then.

For example, Pincher Creek region currently has five active cases, the equivalent of 60.2 per 100,000, which is above the trigger point of 50, but status for the area will only change if there are also 10 active cases.

Waterton and Oyen currently have no active cases, Crowsnest Pass has one and the County of Warner has nine. The scenario is the same for them, it will take an active-case count of 10 for status to change from open to enhanced.

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South Zone Specifics

Tuesday, Nov. 17 – 3,186 total cases
Data updated Wednesday, Nov. 18

37 new cases were reported in today’s update.

Testing numbers remain unavailable as does the positivity rate specific to the zone.

There are 532 active cases, a decrease of 16 since yesterday.

53 recoveries brings the total to 2,618, for a recovery rate of about 82 per cent.

19 people are hospitalized with five admitted to intensive care.

36 residents have died, giving Covid-19 a mortality rate of about 1.1 per cent for the zone.

Dr. Hinshaw said Monday that the acute care outbreak at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge was declared over on Nov. 14. It remains listed as an outbreak on the provincial government website, but Alberta Health confirmed to us Tuesday that the outbreak is over and should be removed from the list with the next update on Friday.

There are 10 public outbreak sites across the zone, which are detailed in the community breakdown below.

17 schools have outbreaks of two or more active cases including three on watch due to having five or more.

10 of 15 communities/regions are under enhanced status. Additional public health measures and gathering restrictions are in place as noted above for these areas that have crossed the watch threshold. 


Community Breakdown

Tuesday, Nov. 17
Data updated Wednesday, Nov. 18

* Indicates a change in statistics since the previous day’s report

Pincher Creek Region – 33 total
5 active, 26 recovered, 2 deaths
* 1 new recovery and adjustment of -2 active
60.2 per 100,000 – open status (less than 10 active cases)
Pincher Creek Region includes the Town of Pincher Creek; MD of Pincher Creek and its hamlets of Beaver Mines, Lowland Heights, Lundbreck, Pincher Station and Twin Butte; the Village of Cowley and Piikani Nation

Crowsnest Pass – 4 total
1 active, 3 recovered
15.8 per 100,000 – open status

Fort Macleod – 43 total
7 active, 33 recovered, 3 deaths
MD of Willow Creek = 79.1 per 100,000 (13 active in MD) – under enhanced watch

Cardston County/Kainai – 137 total
19 active, 113 recovered, 5 deaths
* 2 new active, 5 recoveries
115.4 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch

I.D. Waterton – 0
0 per 100,000 – “open” status

City of Lethbridge – 801 total
174 active, 620 recovered, 7 deaths
* 19 new active, 19 new recoveries
175.8 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch
Public outbreak sites – Edith Cavell Care Centre, St. Michael’s Health Centre, Good Samaritan West Highland Centre, House of Cars (new today), private gathering and Top Hat Adult Entertainment.
School outbreaks (open) – Immanuel Christian Secondary School, Gilbert Paterson Middle School, Catholic Central High School, Wilson Middle School, General Stewart School, Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School and Chinook High School
School outbreak (watch) – Winston Churchill High School

Lethbridge County – 253 total
61 active, 1891 recovered, 1 death
* 8 new recoveries
241.8 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch
School outbreaks (open) – St. Catherine’s School in Picture Butte, Barons School in Barons and Kate Andrews High School in Coaldale

County of Warner – 85 total
9 active, 75 recovered, 1 death
* 2 new recoveries
81.9 per 100,000 – open status

MD of Taber –148 total
81 active, 66 recovered, 1 death
* 6 new active, 1 new recovery
429.4 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch
School outbreak (open) – Taber Christian School Alternative Program
School outbreak (watch) – W.R. Myers High School

City of Brooks – 1,239 total
34 active, 1,194 recovered, 11 deaths
* 3 new active, 1 new recovery
176.2 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch
Public outbreak sites – Agecare Sunrise Gardens, private dayhome (new today) and Studio Elle
School outbreak (open) – Brooks Junior High School
School outbreak (watch) – Eastbrook Elementary School

County of Newell – 87 total
23 active, 62 recovered, 2 deaths
* 1 new active, 3 new recoveries
284.2 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch
School outbreak (open) – Bassano School

County of Forty Mile – 88 total
26 active, 61 recovered, 1 death
* 4 new recoveries
403.5 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch 

Cypress County – 91 total
39 active, 52 recovered
* 4 new active, 5 new recoveries
347.6 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch

Medicine Hat – 158 total
51 active, 105 recovered, 2 deaths
* 4 new active, 4 new recoveries
74.9 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch
Public outbreak site – private dayhome
School outbreaks (open) – Crestwood School and Medicine Hat High School

Oyen – 13 total
0 active, 13 recovered
Special Areas 2 = 0 per 100,000 – open status

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Alberta Information by Zone

Tuesday, Nov. 17
Updated Wednesday, Nov. 18

Calgary Zone
18,035 confirmed cases   +298
4,201 active cases   -7
13,658 recovered cases   +302
92 in hospital
16 in intensive care
176 deaths  +3

Edmonton Zone
15,771 confirmed cases   +328
4,157 active cases   +19
11,436 recovered cases   +303
157 in hospital
36 in intensive care
178 deaths   +6

Central Zone
1,616 confirmed cases   +41
454 active cases   +13
1,151 recovered cases   +27
8 in hospital
0 in intensive care
11 deaths   +1      

South Zone
3,186 confirmed cases   +37
532 active cases   -16
2,618 recovered cases   +53
19 in hospital
5 in intensive care
36 deaths         

North Zone
2,928 confirmed cases   +27
645 active cases   +92
2,258 recovered cases   +43
11 in hospital
0 in intensive care
42 deaths   +1        

Unknown Zone
156 confirmed cases  
85 active cases  
71 recovered cases 

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Mandatory measures effective Nov. 13

For all Alberta communities and municipalities with “enhanced” status
Map is available at https://bit.ly/ABStatusMap

  • Restaurants, bars, lounges and pubs must stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11. Applies to Class A, B, or C licences (in effect until Nov. 27)
  • 15-person limit on social and family gatherings — indoors and outdoors — where people are mixing and mingling
  • 50-person limit on indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies and funeral services

Voluntary measures effective Nov. 13
For all Alberta communities and municipalities with “enhanced” status
Map is available at https://bit.ly/ABStatusMap

  • No social gatherings inside your home or outside of your community. Instead, socialize outdoors or in structured settings, like restaurants or other businesses that are subject to legal limits and take steps to prevent transmission
  • Limit of three cohorts: your core household, your school and one other sport or social cohort. Young children who attend child care can be part of four cohorts
  • Wear a mask in all indoor work settings, except when alone in a workspace or an appropriate barrier is in place
  • Employers in office settings should implement measures to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at one time
  • Faith-based gatherings limited to ⅓ capacity at one time

Mandatory measures specific to urban centres
Includes Lethbridge in the south zone along with Calgary and area, Edmonton and area, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Red Deer

  • Ban on indoor group fitness classes and team sport activities (in effect until Nov. 27)
  • Ban on group performance activities: singing, dancing and theatre (in effect until Nov. 27)

Further details are available at https://bit.ly/Nov13Enhanced


There are currently high rates of in-home transmission, with family members infecting one another and simple steps can have a big impact:

  • If you are sick with even mild symptoms, take steps to protect those around you.
  • Isolate yourself in the house in a separate bedroom and use a different bathroom than family members if possible.
  • If unable to isolate yourself within the home, wear a mask and disinfect common surfaces.
  • Do not eat with family members, share utensils or food, or spend prolonged time in close contact with them.
  • Do not leave the house, even if symptoms are mild and even if you don’t want to miss an important family gathering.

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Pincher Creek Regional Emergency Management Organization operates a toll-free information number for those without Internet access to receive up-to-date information on the Covid-19 situation. 

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