22 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta; hospitals cancel elective surgeries

Twenty-two new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since yesterday in Alberta, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 119.

Dr. Deena Henshaw, chief medical officer of health for the province, said six of those cases were likely the result of community transmission rather than the result of travel.

Six people among the 119 are in hospital, three of them in intensive care. All others are recovering in isolation in their homes. There are cases in all five of Alberta’s health zones, with 83 in Calgary, 27 in Edmonton, four in the north zone, three in central and two in the south zone.

Henshaw said multiple confirmed cases were reported by attendees at the Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver. As a result, the dental association has halted all non-emergency dental care in the province.

Other new measures include restrictions to hospital visitors. Any visitor must be completely symptom-free of COVID-19 and only one visitor at a time can visit hospital patients. Children will not be allowed to visit those in hospital except in specific circumstances and on a case-by-case basis as deemed by those at the facility involved, said Henshaw.

On Tuesday, AHS cancelled all elective and non-urgent surgeries in order to free up medical personnel and beds for the anticipated influx of cases.

She said the effort to save lives has taken away livelihoods and decisions regarding public health are not taken lightly.

Projections on when the virus infection level will peak are being projected based on modelling data and based upon that, Henshaw said the current projection is a peak in cases in mid-April, with the possibility of a second wave in the fall. That assumes the spread can be controlled.

The Alberta Health Services on-line assessment tool has been accessed more than 1.3 million times by Albertans so far, and more than 15,000 people have been tested, which works out to one test for every 290 Albertans.

Call volumes to the 811 line are large and wait times are long but Henshaw encouraged people concerned about their health to continue using the line and exercise patience.

Further information, updated several times daily, can be found at alberta.ca/covid19.

Contact barb.glen@producer.com


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