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Number of COVID-19 cases in Edmonton almost same as Calgary: chief doctor


EDMONTON — Alberta's chief medical officer of health says the number of active COVID-19 cases in Edmonton are almost at the same level as Calgary, a city that has been hardest hit in the province.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw is reporting 46 new cases in Alberta and no new deaths.

She says the number of active cases have been creeping up in the province, while the numbers in Edmonton continue to rise steadily.

There are 512 active cases in the province, which is 173 more than two weeks ago.

But Hinshaw notes that hospitalization rates have gone down and the increase in infection rates may be from people interacting more in their communities after the province began lifting restrictions last month.

She says there has also been an outbreak at one of Edmonton's main recycling plants, where 10 workers have tested positive.

Increased infection rates indicate that people may be contracting the virus in community settings such as workplaces and large gatherings such as funerals, Hinshaw said Friday.

Two recent funerals have recently led to a combined total of 24 new cases in Alberta, with many more close contacts potentially exposed, she added.

"Other key areas of risk are social gatherings like birthday parties and work meetings where distancing and masking are not in place," Hinshaw said.

"Indoor gatherings have a higher risk than outdoor gatherings. Workplaces need to consider how they will ensure that distancing and masking, when needed, are firmly embedded in return to the workplace strategies."

Meanwhile, there are 26 active coronavirus cases in continuing care homes in Alberta, much less than previous counts. Hinshaw said restrictions will remain in those facilities.

She warned that COVID-19 is still here and not going anywhere.

"This is not the time for complacency," Hinshaw said of people needing to follow provincial guidelines. 

"We are not out of the woods yet and will not be for some time."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2020

The Canadian Press