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‘Our current situation is grim’ says Dr. Hinshaw

Friday, 20 November 2020. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

‘Our current situation is grim’ says Dr. Hinshaw

‘Our current situation is grim’
says Dr. Hinshaw

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

Alberta confirmed 1,155 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, again setting a record high.

All provincial zones were affected by deaths and 310 are currently hospitalized.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said today that the average age of people requiring hospitalization is dropping, also noting that two individuals in their 30s died this week.

She said both had comorbidities that, on their own, weren’t life threatening.

“Severe outcomes are not limited just to those already at the very end of their lives and it is a mistake to think so said Dr. Hinshaw.

About one in four people who require hospitalization for Covid-19 and one in six of those admitted to intensive care have no pre-existing medical conditions.

She added that almost 25 per cent of Alberta adults over the age of 20 have chronic conditions, including common things like high blood pressure and diabetes. Ten per cent have two conditions and eight per cent have three or more.

Those over the age of 50 are more likely to have one or more chronic conditions.

“When looking just at men in Alberta, more than half of men over 50, and almost 70 per cent of men over 65, have high blood pressure,” she said. “That should not be a death sentence.”

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Alberta Health Services continues to work on increasing capacity for Covid-19 patients in response to rapidly rising hospitalizations, ICU admissions and ongoing outbreaks at multiple acute-care and continuing-care facilities.

“Let me be clear,” said Dr. Hinshaw, “Alberta Health Services manages ICU beds and staff depending on demand from both Covid-19 patients and patients with other conditions that might require intensive care. There are 173 general adult ICU beds for this purpose.”

As more beds are required, she said AHS is able to add additional intensive care capacity, but it comes at the cost of delaying or halting other services.

“The best way to ensure capacity is available and to drive hospitalizations down is to reduce community transmission, which in turn, will reduce the need for additional Covid-19 beds,” she added.

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 Dr. Hinshaw also asked people to be honest about their health status.

There have been reports of people intentionally not disclosing Covid-19-related symptoms when visiting health-care or continuing-care facilities — putting loved ones and the people caring for them at greater risk.

“We are dealing with the multiplier effect in Alberta, we cannot afford that in our health-care facilities,” she said. “Ultimately, if this behaviour continues, Alberta Health Services will have to consider limiting designated family or support and visitation even further.”

Unless you need care yourself, do not go to a health-care facility if you are feeling sick. On arrival, answer all screening questions honestly.


Those testing positive for Covid-19 are urged to follow the directions given to them by AHS contact tracers, including providing information for known close contacts.

This is an anonymous process and, while close contacts will be told to isolate and be given information on symptoms, isolation and testing, they will not be given the name of the person they were in contact with.

Close contacts must stay home for 14 days from the last exposure to the positive case and monitor for symptoms. They should leave their property only if they need to go for testing.

“Our actions, such as going out while symptomatic, have very real consequences to those around us, whether we know about it or not,” said Dr. Hinshaw.

“Every spreading event jeopardizes businesses and activities that could potentially face more intrusive measures than those we introduced last week.”

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Alberta Overview
Thursday, Nov. 19 – 43,952 total cases
Data updated Friday, Nov. 20

1,155 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in today’s update.

Test numbers remain unavailable but Dr. Hinshaw said over 17,000 tests were completed and the provincial positivity rate is 6.5 per cent.

There are 10,655 active cases, an increase of 273 since yesterday.

871 recoveries brings the total to 32,835 for a recovery rate of about 75 per cent.

310 people are hospitalized with 58 admitted to intensive care units.

11 new deaths were reported today, including one in the south zone.

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

163 schools have outbreaks of two or more active cases, including 67 on watch due to having five or more.

“Schools do not operate in a closed system — students, guardians, teachers, parents and staff are part of our communities,” said Dr. Hinshaw. “As we continue to have increasing cases throughout Alberta, this will correlate with cases in our institutions including schools and hospitals.”

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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.

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 four active cases, the equivalent of 48.2 per 100,000, which is just below the trigger point of 50, but status for the area will only change if there are also 10 active cases.

Waterton has no active cases, Crowsnest Pass has two, Oyen has four 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
Thursday, Nov. 19 – 3,346 total cases
Data updated Friday, Nov. 20

93 new cases were reported in today’s update.

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

There are 569 active cases, an increase of 29 since yesterday.

63 recoveries brings the total to 2,740, for a recovery rate of about 82 per cent.

21 people are hospitalized with four admitted to intensive care.

37 residents have now died, including a Lethbridge County male in his 60s included in today’s update. His death was not connected to any outbreak. Condolences are expressed to family and friends of the deceased.

This gives Covid-19 a mortality rate of about 1.1 per cent for the zone.

There are two acute-care outbreaks in the south zone – Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge and Oyen Health Centre

There are 11 public outbreak sites across the zone, which are detailed in the community breakdown below.

18 south zone schools have outbreaks of two or more active cases including five on watch due to having five or more active cases. 

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

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Community Breakdown
Thursday, Nov. 19
Data updated Friday, Nov. 20

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


Pincher Creek Region – 32 total 

4 active, 26 recovered, 2 deaths
* adjustment of -1 active

48.2 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 – 5 total

2 active, 3 recovered

31.6 per 100,000 – open status


Fort Macleod – 46 total

9 active, 34 recovered, 3 deaths
* 3 new active

MD of Willow Creek (Calgary zone) = 91.3 per 100,000 (15 active in MD) – under enhanced watch


Cardston County/Kainai – 145 total 

23 active, 117 recovered, 5 deaths
* 5 new active, 2 recoveries

139.7 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch


I.D. Waterton – 0 

0 per 100,000 – open status

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City of Lethbridge – 835 total

157 active, 671 recovered, 7 deaths
* 20 new active, 26 new recoveries

158.6 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch 

Acute-care outbreak – Chinook Regional Hospital
A crossover in outbreaks occurred at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge this week. Dr. Hinshaw announced Monday that the outbreak had ended Nov. 14. A new outbreak was declared Nov. 19 on the renal dialysis unit, where three healthcare workers have tested positive for Covid-19.

Public outbreak sites – Edith Cavell Care Centre, St. Michael’s Health Centre, Good Samaritan West Highland Centre, House of Cars, private gatherings (2) and Top Hat Adult Entertainment.

School outbreaks (open) – Gilbert Paterson Middle School, Chinook High School, Wilson Middle School, Senator Joyce Fairbairn Middle School

School outbreaks (watch) – Winston Churchill High School, Catholic Central High School

Lethbridge County – 271 total

62 active, 207 recovered, 2 deaths
* 12 new active, 6 new recoveries, 1 new death

245.8 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch

School outbreaks (open) – Barons School (new today), Kate Andres High School in Coaldale

School outbreak (watch) – St. Catherine’s School in Picture Butte

County of Warner – 89 total 

9 active, 79 recovered, 1 death
* 1 new active, 1 new recovery

81.9 per 100,000 – open status

MD of Taber –176 total 

98 active, 77 recovered, 1 death
* 17 new active, 7 new recoveries

519.5 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 – 1,251 total

36 active, 1,204 recovered, 11 deaths
* 6 new active, 3 new recoveries

186.6 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch

Public outbreak sites – Agecare Sunrise Gardens and Studio Elle

School outbreak (open) – Brooks Junior High School

School outbreak (watch) – Eastbrook Elementary School


County of Newell – 97 total 

32 active, 63 recovered, 2 deaths
* 7 new active

395.4 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch

School outbreaks (open) – Duchess School (new today), Bassano School

County of Forty Mile – 93 total 

23 active, 69 recovered, 1 death
* 2 new active, 6 new recoveries

357 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch 

School outbreak (open) – Burdett School (new today)

Cypress County – 99 total 

38 active, 61 recovered
* 2 new active, 8 new recoveries

338.7 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch

Medicine Hat – 182 total 

69 active, 111 recovered, 2 deaths
* 13 new active, 4 new recoveries

101.4 per 100,000 – under enhanced watch

Public outbreak site – private dayhome

School outbreaks (open) – Crestwood School, Prairie Mennonite Alternative School (new today), Medicine Hat High School

Oyen – 17 total 

4 active, 13 recovered
* 4 new active

Acute-care outbreak – Oyen Health Centre
Declared Nov. 19 after two staff members tested positive for Covid-19

Special Areas 3 – 81.6 per 100,000 (2 active in area)

MD of Acadia – 543.2 per 100,000 (2 active in MD)

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Alberta Information by Zone
Thursday, Nov. 19
Updated Friday, Nov. 20


Calgary Zone

18,801 confirmed cases   +401

4,272 active cases   +53

14,348 recovered cases   +347

99 in hospital

17 in intensive care

181 deaths  +1


Edmonton Zone

16,801 confirmed cases   +499

4,520 active cases   +132

12,092 recovered cases   +360

163 in hospital

36 in intensive care

189 deaths   +7


Central Zone

1,800 confirmed cases   +94

564 active cases   +56

1,224 recovered cases   +37

12 in hospital

0 in intensive care

12 deaths   +1         


South Zone

3,346 confirmed cases   +93

569 active cases   +29

2,740 recovered cases   +63

21 in hospital

4 in intensive care

37 deaths   +1         


North Zone

3,052 confirmed cases   +57

651 active cases   -7

2,358 recovered cases   +63

15 in hospital

1 in intensive care

43 deaths   +1           


Unknown Zone

152 confirmed cases

79 active cases   

73 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.


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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