Calgary wedding resulted in at least 49 COVID-19 cases: Alberta Health

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Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.

The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.

Read more: What’s a COVID-19 close contact?

He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.

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“COVID-19 loves parties and we need to keep this in mind [when] planning social events,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during her Tuesday update on COVID-19 in Alberta.
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Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said this case is only one of several across the province linked to private gatherings.

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She stressed Albertans should work to keep their gatherings as small as possible and that being outside is always preferable to being indoors.

“Perhaps people were trying to stay distanced or there wasn’t hand sanitizer available and some were wearing masks but not all and some of that distancing wasn’t possible,” Hinshaw said.

“l don’t have granular details, but a common element seems to be people were indoors together in a social context and unfortunately enough of those layers slipped enough that widespread transmission happened.”

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Read more: Why contact tracing becomes ‘impossible’ as coronavirus cases surge

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.

“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”

He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.

– With files from Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED