Alberta recorded a new daily record for new cases of COVID-19 on Friday afternoon, as well as five additional deaths from the disease.
The province reported 622 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus on Friday, after 12,938 tests were completed. Alberta has not previously surpassed 600 new cases in one day.
Alberta Health said the people who died include a man in his 80s and a man in his 90s who were both linked to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Edmonton General Care Centre.
A man in his 80s from the South Terrace Continuing Care Centre also died, as well as a man in his 70s from the Calgary zone who was linked to the outbreak at the Peter Lougheed Centre.
A man in his 70s from the Edmonton zone also died. He was not linked to continuing care, Alberta Health said.
The five new deaths Friday bring Alberta’s death toll to 323.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 5,172 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. Of those, 2,312 were in the Edmonton zone, 2,034 were in the Calgary zone, 353 were in the North zone, 276 were in the South zone, 178 were in the Central zone and 19 were not tied to any particular zone.
There were 140 people in hospital with COVID-19, 25 of whom were in intensive care. The number of people in ICU increased by seven patients from the day before.
On Thursday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health reminded Albertans to be safe this weekend, with Halloween on Saturday.
“I am asking Albertans as clearly and strongly as possible to please be wise and be safe. Follow the guidance we have provided,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
“If you are trick-or-treating, keep it to your household or close cohort and please ensure your children wear a non-medical mask under their costume. If you are sick with even mild symptoms, please don’t go out and don’t give out candy either.”
She stressed this is not the year for Halloween parties or gatherings.
“Stick to your family and your cohort no matter what you’re doing,” she said.
“Please keep your social gatherings as small as possible, regardless of where you live. For Edmonton and Calgary specifically, remember that there is a mandatory 15-person limit for social gatherings, including parties. Let’s continue to protect each other and enjoy the activities we are able to do.
“Carve pumpkins. Dress up. Eat candy. Brush your teeth. Watch your favourite scary movie. Spend time with your household and your cohorts. And remember, we are all in this together and we’re still all protecting each other.”
Since the pandemic began, 27,664 Albertans have tested positive for COVID-19. So far, 22,169 Albertans have recovered from the disease.
Due to routine maintenance on the government’s COVID-19 database system this weekend, Hinshaw said her next availability will be on Tuesday afternoon. COVID-19 data will not be released again until then, she added.
Calgary Correctional Centre inmate cases continue to rise
More than 50 per cent of the inmates at the Calgary Correctional Centre were confirmed to have COVID-19 as of Friday, with AHS reporting 104 inmates had tested positive. The centre can typically house 400 inmates, but during the pandemic capacity was reduced to 200.
Eight other inmates that had tested positive previously were released and are isolating at home, AHS said.
In addition, 20 staff at the correctional centre tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“The increase in inmate case numbers stems primarily from re-swabbing of previously negative inmates on Oct. 27 as ordered by the Medical Officer of Health,” AHS said. “This re-swabbing is now complete.”