Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the low number on Friday is the net difference between Thursday and Friday after adjusting for previously clinically reported cases.
The total number of COVID-19 cases across the province stands at 17,749. There are 1,549 active cases, up 52 from Friday, and 15,935 recovered cases, up 350.
There are currently 63 Albertans in hospital, 15 in ICU. There have been 265 deaths, an increase of four from Friday.
The province conducted 51,264 tests in the past 72 hours – 16,318 on Sept. 25, 16,365 on Sept. 26 and 18,581 on Sept. 27.
Hinshaw addressed recent questions she’s heard about herd immunity, saying estimates of the percentage of immune people needed to achieve successful herd immunity for coronavirus range from 50 to 70 per cent and that she disagrees with herd immunity.
“Serology studies in Canada have estimated that we are only at about one per cent or less of our population who have been infected.”
She said the suggestion that because young people are generally at low risk of severe outcomes that the virus should be allowed to spread quickly among that population does not take into account the drawbacks of the approach.
“COVID-19 can spread rapidly and we are all interconnected. Adopting a herd immunity approach would have a serious and deadly impact on many people in the population,” she said. “Even if we could put perfect protection in place for those who live in congregate settings like long-term care while letting the virus spread freely elsewhere, we cannot simply dictate where and how the virus will spread.”
“Adopting an approach focused on herd immunity would place many older Albertans or those with underlying conditions at-risk and lead to many more deaths across our province.”
In Alberta, the risk of death for those diagnosed with COVID-19 is about 18 per cent for those over 70 years old, less than half a per cent for those 40-69 and “vanishingly small” for those under 40.
She also said that death is not the only severe outcome. One in every 67 people between the ages of 20 and 39 diagnosed with COVID has needed hospitalization. The number rises to one in 18 for those 40-69 and one in four for those over 70.
The health system could be overloaded by that much of an increase in hospitalization, Hinshaw said.
She said collective action is the key to protecting each other from the risks of the virus and risks of strict restrictions.
Hinshaw provided her update via video after she developed a sore throat last week.
“As I have said many times, it is important to stay home when sick and get tested even if the symptoms are mild,” she said, adding her COVID test was negative and she will be working from home until her symptoms resolve.
She asked people to follow her lead, but acknowledged not everyone can do their job remotely.
“I know that staying home is not easy and that many Albertans face difficult financial or other choices. Most of us have worked with sore throats or runny noses many, many times. However, during COVID that’s not a risk that I or anyone else should take.”
Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced at the regular media availability that more than one million Albertans have been tested for COVID-19 at least once during the coronavirus pandemic, which he called a remarkable accomplishment for the health-care system.
Shandro said that Alberta has the strongest and most dynamic testing program in the country.
“While other provinces have faced massive lineups or consistently narrow testing criteria, Alberta has been a leader,” he said. He praised the early efforts of Alberta Health Services to order lab supplies, offer asymptomatic testing and work with community pharmacies to increase capacity.
He said work to speed up testing and expand capacity further will continue.
There are now 47 schools in the province where outbreaks have been declared. Alberta Health’s threshold for declaring an outbreak in school is two cases being in a school while infectious within 14 days.
No local schools are classified as having outbreaks on the provincial website.
The website Support Our Students is tracking instances of cases in schools across the province. The only local school on the list remains Ecole St. John Paul II, which was added in late August.
There are eight new cases in the South Zone, which now has 1,828 total cases. There are 38 active cases and 1,765 recovered. There are currently six COVID-19 cases in hospital in the South Zone, two in the ICU, and the zone total remains at 25 deaths.
Cypress County has totaled 33 cases – the two new cases and the rest recovered.
The County of Forty Mile has 40 total cases. There are 13 active cases and the rest are recovered.
The MD of Taber has 44 total cases — four active cases and the rest recovered.
Special Areas No. 2 has 13 total cases, all of which are recovered.
Brooks has 1,133 total cases —1,121 are recovered and three are active. Brooks has recorded nine deaths.
The County of Newell has a total of 32 cases — 30 recovered and there have been two deaths.
The County of Warner has 63 total cases. There is one active case, 61 are recovered cases and there has been one death in the county.
The City of Lethbridge has a total of 172 cases. There are three active cases, 167 recovered and there have been two deaths. Lethbridge County has 48 cases, five active cases and the rest recovered.
The figures on alberta.ca are “up-to-date as of end of day Sept. 27, 2020.”
Read the full Sept. 28 update from the province here.
Saskatchewan reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, none in the South Zones.
Saskatchewan has a total of 1,892 cases, 149 considered active. There are 1,719 recovered cases and there have been 24 COVID-19 deaths in the province. On Saturday, two cases were removed from the provincial total after they were deemed to be non-Saskatchewan residents.
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