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Hinshaw calls death of woman in her 20s a ‘tragic reminder’ of risk COVID-19 poses

WATCH ABOVE: Dr. Deena Hinshaw speaks about Alberta's COVID-19 response on Friday.

A woman in her 20s with no known comorbidities was among the 25 new fatalities linked to COVID-19 by Alberta Health on Friday.

At a news conference in Edmonton, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health called the woman’s death “a tragic reminder of what we have been saying, that while the risk is lower for individuals who are young, it is not zero.”

READ MORE: 40-year-old Edmonton man documents his heartbreaking decline before COVID-19 takes his life 

“It is an example of how we can lose people to COVID-19 of all ages,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw told reporters. “If somebody has COVID-19 … and spreads it to others.. .there can be these tragic consequences.

“We need to follow these (public health) measures everyday because we don’t know who might get the virus next week or be susceptible to it.”

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A spokesperson for Alberta Health told Global News that the woman in her 20s is the youngest person whose death has been linked to COVID-19 in Alberta since the pandemic began.

READ MORE: Hinshaw warns young Albertans that long-term effects of COVID-19 remain unknown

The 25 COVID-19-related deaths announced Friday come one day after Alberta announced 30 deaths the day before, a single-day record in the province since the pandemic unfolded.

“My thoughts are with anyone mourning a loved one right now,” Hinshaw said, adding that her condolences extend to people who have lost loved ones for any reason recently, not just COVID-19.

“I know this has been yet another tough week for many Albertans… However, we are starting to see some early positive signs.”

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According to Hinshaw, on Tuesday the province recorded its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period since Nov. 25. She also said the province’s testing positivity rate, which is currently at about 7.4 per cent, appears to be trending in the right direction after at one point reaching a high of 10.97 per cent.

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READ MORE: Alberta’s COVID-19 infections are trending down – what it means and what we need to do

Hinshaw suggested the dangerous curve Alberta had been on is beginning to plateau, but warned that “our new case numbers are extremely high.”

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“Our fight is far from over,” she said. “Our health system continues to feel the strain, which will increase in the days ahead.

“I know a great deal of health-care workers are working incredibly hard… For them, we must maintain our progress.”

Hinshaw reminded Albertans that the second wave of COVID-19 to hit the province hard appeared to come on the heels of Thanksgiving. She warned people to remain vigilant about curbing the coronavirus’ spread as the Christmas holiday approaches.

“Just imagine the same kind of accelerating factor going into Christmas,” she said, noting Alberta’s case numbers are much higher now.

“Do not try to crowd into malls or stores,” she added, suggesting people order gifts online or take advantage of curbside pickup.

“We need to reduce in-person interactions as much as possible,” Hinshaw said, referring to shopping and running other errands as well as rules prohibiting social gatherings.

‘(I know) restrictions on gathering is a difficult one… The fact is, we know… when people gather together in an indoor setting… it’s exactly the setting where COVID-19 spreads quickly and easily.”

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Hinshaw said it is too early to say what effect the province’s latest restrictions — which were introduced last week — are having on Alberta’s pandemic response. However, she said it’s possible the new requirement that Albertans wear masks in indoor public setting is already having an impact.

“Stay the course,” she said.

“We need to make good decisions… for our families and our loved one and for ourselves.”

Hinshaw said it will take a few weeks to see the full impact of measures brought in last weekend.

Watch below: Some Global News videos from Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s news conference on Friday.

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Latest COVID-19 deaths in Alberta

Of the 25 deaths in the province that were linked to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the Calgary zone woman in her 20s was the youngest.

Eight other deaths were linked to outbreaks in the Calgary zone: a woman in her 90s, a woman in her 80s as well as a man in his 70s were all linked to the outbreak at Clifton Manor. All of those cases included comorbidities. The death of a man in his 60s is also linked to that outbreak, though Alberta Health said comorbidities are unknown for that fatality. The other Calgary zone deaths linked to outbreaks were a woman in her 60s from the Glamorgan Care Centre outbreak with comorbidities, a woman in her 80s linked to the Bethany Calgary outbreak with comorbidities, a man in his 80s with comorbidities who was linked to the Bethany Riverview outbreak and a woman in her 60s with unknown comorbidities linked to the Agecare Skypointe outbreak.

A man in his 80s and a man in his 70s, both with unknown comorbidities, and a woman in her 80s with known comorbidities, have also all died in the Calgary zone.

In the Edmonton zone there were five deaths linked to outbreaks: a man in his 80s with comorbidities who was linked to the outbreak at Chartwell St. Albert Retirement Residence, a man in his 80s who had comorbidities and was linked to the Laurier House Lynnwood outbreak, a man in his 90s with comorbidities linked to the St. Michaels long-term care centre outbreak, a man in his 90s with comorbidities who was linked to the Chinese Seniors lodge outbreak and a woman in her 60s who was linked to the Rosedale Estates and had comorbidities.

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Within the Edmonton zone, Alberta Health also reported a man in his 80s with comorbidities, a man in his 40s with unknown comorbidities, a woman in her 70s with no known comorbidities and a man in his 60s with unknown comorbidities have also died.

There were two deaths reported in the North zone: two men in their 70s. One included comorbidities, Alberta Health said.

A woman in her 90s who was linked to the outbreak at Points Living West in the Central zone has also died. Alberta Health said her case included comorbidities.

A woman in her 90s with comorbidities in the South zone also died.

With the latest fatalities, COVID-19 has now been linked to 815 deaths in Alberta. According to Alberta Health, 526 of those deaths have been connected to long-term care facilities or supportive living sites.

Latest COVID-19 numbers in Alberta

On Friday, Alberta Health announced 1,413 new COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in the province over the past 24 hours. In the same time period, Hinshaw said health workers conducted about 19,500 coronavirus tests.

There are currently 759 people in Alberta hospitals with COVID-19, 141 are in intensive care units.

As of late Friday afternoon, there were 19,607 active COVID-19 cases in the province. The Edmonton zone has more active cases than any other zone at 9,376.

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–With files from 630 CHED’s Kirby Bourne

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