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Alberta finding more COVID-19 cases in younger demographic as Stage 2 of relaunch gets underway

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON (660NEWS) — Alberta’s top doctor says over the past few weeks health officials are starting to see an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the younger demographic.

Around 60 per cent of the currently active cases are under the age of 40, and there is an increase in cases of those between the ages of 20 and 29.

“I have been asked if the increase early this week might be the result of the recent protests in the city. I can tell you that is not the case as any transmission would take days to work through the system,” Hinshaw said in Friday’s update.

“The common pattern seems to be more socialization, getting together in groups and sharing food or drinks and not maintaining that two metres of distance.”

Over the past three weeks, Edmonton has seen a rise in active cases from 58 to 149. Hinshaw says while any increase is concerning there has been no single source or cause identified in this uptick.

“About two-thirds of these cases are linked to known sources or outbreaks and about one-third are not yet linked to a known source,” Hinshaw said.

Health officials continue to watch these cases closely and will communicate with Albertans if there is a cause for alarm, Hinshaw added.

Alberta recorded 30 new cases of COVID-19 on the first day of stage 2 of the economic relaunch plan.

Hinshaw says Albertans should be proud they have made it to the second phase of relaunch but reminded the public that they need to continue to follow health measures.

“It’s important for all of us to remember that this virus is not gone. COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities and will do so for months to come,” Hinshaw said.

“With the increased opportunity for activities and gatherings, there is increased potential for all of us to be exposed to COVID-19.”

“As we get out and enjoy stage 2, I want everyone to be proud of how far we have come and to continue following public health guidance in every facet of our lives. We are all protecting each other.”

There are currently 386 active cases in the province with 53 people in hospital, six of whom are in intensive care.

The death toll remains at 149 after no new deaths were reported.