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AHS declares COVID-19 outbreak on 3 units at Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre – Global News

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Alberta Health Services confirmed Sunday that it declared a COVID-19 outbreak on three units at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary after nine patients and two staff members tested positive for the virus.

“We anticipate this situation will continue to evolve as test results come in and we will provide daily updates,” AHS communications manager Melissa Ballantyne said.

Read more:
AHS declares COVID-19 outbreak at Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Centre

All patients on the unit are offered testing, and contact tracing is ongoing, AHS said.

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“While we appreciate it may be difficult for some, visitors to this one unit are limited to only end-of-life situations until further notice,” AHS said in a statement to Global News.

The health authority said all AHS facilities follow “rigorous infection prevention and control standards,” saying that health-care workers are asked to self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure risk using a screening tool in addition to masking.

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Read more:
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Auburn Bay school in Calgary

“The Foothills Medical Centre remains a safe place to visit and to receive care. There is no increased risk to patients coming to the hospital,” AHS said.

“Any patient with symptoms, or who has tested positive for COVID-19, is isolated and treated in designated rooms.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health – Peace Arch News

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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.

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.

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.

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Asymptomatic testing no longer available to Albertans without known exposure to COVID-19 – Edmonton Journal

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Article content continued

With 3,203 active cases, Hinshaw said right now the province is at a critical point.

“We’re in a danger zone where the coming weeks will really tell that story about whether we are able collectively to bend that curve downwards by following all of that guidance that’s already out there, that’s up online,” Hinshaw said.

“Or if we start to tip the wrong way, and start to see our hospitals fill up, and impair our ability to do elective surgeries, impair our ability to offer services that our health-care system needs to be able to offer to others that are not COVID related. So we’re not yet again at that point where our system is not able to cope. But we are getting closer.”

Hinshaw continues to be concerned by the high number of cases of COVID-19 in the Edmonton Zone where additional voluntary measures to prevent spread of the virus were implemented almost two weeks ago. There are currently 1,607 active cases in the zone that includes the City of Edmonton and surrounding municipalities, or about 50 per cent of the province’s active cases. Over the last 24 hours, 147 new cases were identified in the region.

The City of Edmonton has 1,318 active cases or 129 per 100,000 people.

“There is some good news in Edmonton,” Hinshaw said. “The rate of growth has started to slow somewhat and the R-value (reproductive rate) in Edmonton has come down from 1.35 to 1.17.

“This is a good start but the bad news is anytime the R-value remains above one, the number of cases is still growing. We need to bring this value below one to reduce the burden on our health system.”

COVID-19 in schools

About eight per cent of schools across the province have one case of COVID-19 or have an outbreak of two or more cases, Hinshaw said, with 512 confirmed cases currently in these schools.

Ninety-six schools have an outbreak with 26 of those on the province’s watch list after five or more cases have been identified.

In Edmonton, J. J. Bowlen School declared an outbreak after a second case was confirmed on Monday.

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Alberta pauses asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 – rdnewsnow.com

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By Chris Brown

results taking too long, Hinshaw says

Oct 20, 2020 5:47 PM

Saying that test results are not getting back to Albertans quick enough, the province’s top doctor has announced a “significant” change to testing that she called a critical step to improving COVID-19 control in the province.

“Effectively immediately we will be pressing pause on all asymptomatic testing in those who have no known exposure,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Tuesday. “This is an important and necessary step that will help us reduce testing wait times, get results to Albertans and limit the spread.”

With cold and flu symptoms mirroring COVID-19 symptoms, labs became overwhelmed in the past few weeks by the increase in tests.

Hinshaw said even with a September shift to only doing asymptomatic testing among priority groups, wait times for results have not decreased as much as they need to in order to use lab test information to prevent spread in an optimal way.

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