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5 deaths, 29 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta

Last Updated Mar 31, 2020 at 10:36 am MDT


5 new deaths confirmed related to COVID-19; 29 new cases

Provincial number of cases rises to 690

Those under 14-day self-isolation can lo longer leave their property

EDMONTON – Eight Albertans have now died from COVID-19 in the province, with 29 new cases also announced on Monday.

Two of the fatalities are from Calgary with one from the McKenzie Towne long-term care centre, where there are 36 residents and five staff members with either a possible or confirmed case of coronavirus.

The remaining three cases were a woman in her fifties living in Calgary, a man in his eighties in Edmonton, and a man in his thirties in the northern region.

“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of these individuals,” said Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

“This news is heartbreaking for all of us.”

She confirmed that those that passed were at risk with factors like chronic medical conditions and age, but reiterated that their lives were no less important.

“This has been one of the hardest days yet. (I’m) imagining the grief that these families are facing and my heart goes out to them.”

Hinshaw said this speaks to the seriousness of the virus and that COVID-19 demands aggressive measures to combat transmission.

There have been 690 total cases of the virus in the province so far, and the 29 new cases look to be a dip in the compared to days past.

However, Hinshaw said this is most likely due to the new testing process where they don’t test returning travellers and that decreases in daily tests due to lab supplies could also be a factor.

She said that they will have to wait for several days for sufficient data from the new testing process.

Up to 65 of the cases are suspected to be as a result of community transmission.

“This is a concerning number.”

However, 94 Albertans have recovered from the virus.

In regards to the newly confirmed cases in senior facilities in both Edmonton and Calgary, Hinshaw expressed concern.

“We must redouble our efforts to protect those who are most venerable to the effects of this virus.”

Hinshaw asked for those working and living in the facilities to continue to follow AHS guidelines.

“Please remember, following the public health guidance will save lives,” said Hinshaw.

“We’re all in this together.”

Hinshaw then addressed those under mandatory quarantine taking walks outside around there neighbourhood.

After discussing with her counterparts in other provinces, Hinshaw said they released a nationwide recommendation that all those under mandatory isolation after being exposed to the virus or returning to the country are not to exit their property.

Those under 14 days quarantine are to remain on their own property and are allowed to spend time outside on their porch and in their backyard and are not allowed, visitors.

This also applies to those who are under quartene due to feeling unwell or showing symptoms of the virus.

“I know this is incredibly difficult. Staying indoors or close to home for 14 days is a very long time but this is what we must do to protect each other.”

Hinshaw reiterated the importance of physical distancing and to keep two metres between each other at all times.

However, when not possible like when carpooling, Hinshaw said fines will not be handed out.

“Each of us must continue to do everything we can to flatten the curve and keep our family and friends healthy.”

Although very difficult and at times emotionally straining to remain at home for 14 days, Hinshaw said those under isolation can take solace in communication.

“It is through helping and looking out for one another that we will overcome COVID-19.”