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Alberta sees 2 more deaths from COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney releases province’s COVID-19 models during broadcast address
WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney released data modelling for the COVID-19 pandemic during an address to the province Tuesday.

Over the last 24 hours, two more people have died due to the novel coronavirus, Alberta Health announced on Tuesday.

The two individuals who died were a man in his 90s from the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary and a man in his 60s from the Calgary zone.

There was no in-person update with the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Instead, Alberta Health posted the new numbers on its website.

As of April 7, 25 new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed, bringing the provincial total up to 1,373. Health officials suspect up to 199 may be community transmission.

“With only an increase of 25 new cases in the last 24 hours, it is important to note that numbers fluctuate from day to day and we should not place too much emphasis or try to predict trends on any given day’s figures,” Hinshaw explained on Twitter.

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“Despite the aggressive measures Alberta has implemented, we expect cases will continue to rise in the coming days and weeks.”

Alberta Health said of the 1,373 total cases, 967 cases are laboratory confirmed and 406 are probable cases (symptomatic close contacts of laboratory confirmed cases). Laboratory positivity rates remain consistent at two per cent.

READ MORE: Alberta sees 98 new COVID-19 cases; may be added benefit in wearing mask

In total, 26 deaths have been attributed to the virus in the province.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 remains steady, Hinshaw wrote Tuesday; 42 are currently in hospital and 15 patients are currently in ICU.

In the Tuesday update, 447 cases were reported as recovered.

“We all need to keep doing what we can to protect Albertans and limit the risk of spreading the virus,” she wrote. “Stay home if you’re sick. Wash your hands. Help break the chain.”

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In total, 67,117 tests for COVID-19 have been done in Alberta.

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Last week, Alberta labs were processing between 3,000 and 4,000 tests for COVID-19 each day.

On Tuesday, the province reported 1,203 tests had been done in the last 24 hours (between 2 p.m. and 2 p.m.) On Monday, 821 tests were completed and on Sunday, 700 were done.

Alberta announces more aggressive COVID-19 testing measures
Alberta announces more aggressive COVID-19 testing measures

Alberta Health said the temporary decline in testing is the delayed result of the changes implemented on March 23. At that time, Alberta shifted its priorities from testing people returning from travel after March 12 who had mild symptoms to testing anyone who is symptomatic and:

  • Is hospitalized with respiratory illness
  • Is a resident in a continuing care home or similar facility
  • Has returned from travelling abroad between March 8 and March 12 (before the self-isolation protocols were in place)
  • Is a health-care worker with respiratory symptoms.
“We expanded Alberta’s testing criteria [Monday] and expect testing numbers will rise back to maximum capacity very soon,” spokesperson Tom McMillan told Global News in an email.
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“The effects of COVID-19 are widespread and unprecedented. We are doing everything possible to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect Albertans.”

READ MORE: Kenney to present Albertans with COVID-19 projections during televised address Tuesday

Earlier on Tuesday, Alberta announced further restrictions on visits to all continuing care facilities.

Hinshaw said most visitors will be banned from all licensed supportive living homes, long-term care and continuing care centres in Alberta.

READ MORE: Alberta’s top doctor bans most visitors at continuing care facilities

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“I know this will have a profound impact on the lives of those residents and their families,” she said. “This is not a step that we take lightly.”

The only exception, under the amended public health order, would be a visitor for a dying resident or a visitor essential for delivering care.

Another death at Calgary’s McKenzie Towne care home as staff work to contain COVID-19 outbreak
Another death at Calgary’s McKenzie Towne care home as staff work to contain COVID-19 outbreak

READ MORE: Another death at Calgary’s McKenzie Towne care home as staff work to contain COVID-19 outbreak

Outbreaks have been declared at several continuing care homes and, as of Tuesday, a dozen COVID-19-related deaths had occurred at McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary.

Hinshaw said Tuesday 135 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed at seniors’ facilities.

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Premier Jason Kenney will present some of the COVID-19 modelling projections put together by provincial health officials to Albertans on Tuesday evening during a special televised address.

Global News plans to livestream the address online. On television, the address will air on Global News Hour in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge.