As Alberta nears Stage 2 of its relaunch strategy, 47 new cases of COVID-19 — but no new deaths connected to the virus — were announced Wednesday.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there are currently 371 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta and 6,754 people have recovered. Out of the active cases, 203 were in the Calgary zone and 134 in the Edmonton zone.
The provincial death toll remains at 151, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said.
“We must always remember that COVID-19 can be fatal and that many families have been devastated by this virus,” Hinshaw said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 44 people were in hospital with COVID-19, six of whom were in intensive care units.
Hinshaw said a “small outbreak” was identified at a unit at Alberta Hospital in Edmonton late Tuesday. Four employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus to date but no patients have tested positive.
Alberta Health Services implemented outbreak protocols at the facility and all staff and patients are being tested.
“I want to emphasize that no businesses or services are required to open this Friday,” Hinshaw said.
“Reopening should happen only when they are ready.
“We are all responsible for our health and moving at our own speed.”
Stage 2 also increased the size of gatherings allowed in indoor and outdoor settings. In both cases, physical distance of at least two metres must be maintained between households or cohort families.
Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed in Stage 2, as long as households stay two metres apart from other households.
Outdoor gatherings — or seated indoor gatherings — can have up to 100 people, as long physical distancing can be maintained.
“We have posted guidelines but it is on all of us to apply them to whatever gathering we are organizing or attending,” Hinshaw said.
“The same goes for other activities, such as worship services, that no longer have a cap beyond the number that can be accommodated while ensuring that physical distancing of two metres is in place between households or cohort families.
“I urge all organizers to apply the available guidance as best you can and in every possible way,” she stressed.
“This virus is still with us and I remind all Albertans: we are the best protection for ourselves, our friends and our neighbours.”
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange joined Hinshaw for Wednesday’s update, announcing the province is planning several ways in which children can be back in school this fall.
A final decision on an approach will be made by Aug. 1. The final decision will be made by the government, not individual school districts.
As of Wednesday, 310,271 COVID-19 tests had been completed.