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Edmonton zone makes up almost 66% of new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, experts plead for public health measures to be followed – Global News

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The number of COVID-19 cases in the Edmonton zone continues to rise, and the city is now a hotspot for the virus.

RELATED: Alberta records 82 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, along with 2 additional deaths

On Wednesday, there were 52 new cases of COVID-19 in the Edmonton zone, making up almost two-thirds of all the new cases in the province that day. As of Wednesday, there have 2,499 total cases identified in the zone with 631 of them that are active.

The Edmonton zone has also seen an upward trend: there were 688 total cases on June 13, 1,252 total cases on July 13, and 2,166 total cases on Aug. 13.

READ MORE: Edmonton zone has more active COVID-19 cases than any other zone in Alberta

“I am concerned as mayor. It’s disappointing because our performance has been so good up to this point. I think perhaps a false sense of security has built up,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

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“This is, as Dr. Hinshaw said, a serious wake up call for Edmontonians.”

Dr. Craig Jenne, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Calgary said, the increase isn’t surprising.

“We only have to go back a few weeks and Calgary was higher than Edmonton. When the numbers are small, it’s easy to see rankings shift so 20 additional cases in Edmonton, perhaps two localized outbreaks are more than enough to put Edmonton higher than Calgary,” he said.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday that many of the cases in Edmonton are linked to social gatherings, particularly indoor ones. She cited one social event that resulted in 26 cases and another that led to 17 cases.

READ MORE: Hinshaw pleads with Albertans to take COVID-19 seriously, ‘concerned by continued rise in active cases’

“This is a little bit more of a… lifestyle choice — choosing to go out to a bar or restaurant or large social gathering seems to be supporting at least a sizeable percentage of the new viral cases,” Jenne said.

Dean Eurich, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, said the cases the city is currently seeing are the result of transmission from several weeks ago.

“I think we’re going to see this continued high number of cases within the Edmonton region reflecting that transmission,” he said.

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“Moving forward, I think it’s really important we try to put in place those public health measures we know can help slow the spread of transmission.”

Eurich said eased restrictions as the province entered Stage 2 of relaunch likely contributed to the increase.

“The public did take it as a, maybe a bit too liberal, in terms of, ‘It is opening up so we can take advantage of it’ as opposed to, ‘Yes, it has opened up but we should still try and limit our contact,’” he said.

Jenne said test results can fluctuate based on the number of tests done every day so it will be important to keep an eye on other metrics.

“If hospital occupancy goes up, if ICU occupancy goes up, those are really the warning signs we need to be careful of,” he said.

READ MORE: All Loblaw pharmacies, Shoppers locations in Alberta to offer asymptomatic COVID-19 testing

Eurich said while the case numbers in hospitals are manageable right now, it is critical to remember the facilities are already busy with non-COVID related issues.

“I think it’s very important we try and keep this curve as flat as possible because hospitals are already working at very high capacity rates for general heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, diabetes, etc and all the day surgeries that are happening as well,” he said.

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“We can’t afford to have COVID cases start to creep into the hospital system because I think it will quickly overwhelm the system.”

Jenne said Edmontonians can stay vigilant while they are out and about by removing a mask at a restaurant only when they are eating, avoiding long line-ups and not hosting any large gatherings right now.

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

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Coronavirus: Younger demographics lead infections in Manitoba, Canada – Global News

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Younger demographics lead the pack in COVID-19 infections in Manitoba and Canada while the novel coronavirus‘s total infections increase across the nation.

Federal officials warn the virus will continue to spread unless some early pandemic precautions are re-adopted and close contacts are reduced.

“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an address to the nation Wednesday.

Read more:
Canada ‘on the brink’ of coronavirus surge, second wave underway in some regions: Trudeau

Meanwhile, Manitoba began to see an increase in cases in August after a spring and early summer plateau — it started with clusters in western and southern Manitoba, before September surges in Winnipeg rocketed the total number of infections to 1,674 as of Wednesday.

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As of Sept. 23, 369 people aged 20-to-29 have been infected in the province — the heaviest-hit demographic, based on provincial data.

The second-hardest hit demographic — 30-to-39-year-olds — has seen 318 people infected, according to provincial data. 

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Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, pleaded with younger people to take precautions seriously in a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday in which she and other public health officials warned infections country-wide could potentially increase to 155,795 total cases and 9,300 deaths by Oct. 2.

“Young people were part of the collective solution to crushing the spring wave and now with incidence rates in this age cohort, they are a critical element in the solution. We need to ramp up the defences and stop a big resurgence from occurring,” Tam said.

“I am making a special call-out to young Canadians: we need your ingenuity and your drive because we won’t get COVID-19 back on the slow burn track without your help.

“This is your generation, this is your time, you’ve got this.”

Read more:
Ahead of throne speech, Canadians see coronavirus pandemic, jobs as top concerns: Ipsos poll

People aged 10-19 are the fifth-hardest hit demographic — 191 youth have been infected.

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Most but not all teenagers are taking COVID-19 precautions — handwashing, mask-wearing and physical distancing — seriously, Winnipeg high school students told Global News Wednesday.

“Personally, I am. Not everybody is, but personally I am,” said Grant Park High School student Zane Schellenberg.

“It’s really half and half, a lot of people are saying it’s like a joke… but then a lot of other people are saying it’s really real, and some of them don’t even come to school. It’s really an equal bunch,” said Samantha Keen, a student at the same school, adding that most people she knows aren’t attending large parties.

“I feel like some people just don’t think they should take it seriously because a bunch of young people don’t really get affected, but I feel like they should because like if I got infected and I infected my grandparents or something… that wouldn’t be very fun,” said Catherine Caparas, another Grant Park High School student.






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Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor urges youth to share ideas on how to limit COVID-19 transmission


Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor urges youth to share ideas on how to limit COVID-19 transmission

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

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Ontario to review COVID-19 symptoms list for schools, minister says – Sudbury.com

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TORONTO — Ontario’s education minister says he is considering shortening the list of COVID-19 symptoms that require kids to stay home from school.

Stephen Lecce says he is working with the province’s medical officials to consider possible changes to the list.

British Columbia shortened its list earlier this week by removing 10 symptoms, prompting Ontario to review the data behind that decision.

Officials in B.C. removed symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, and headaches from their list.

Ontario’s school reopening plan requires parents to screen their children for COVID-19 symptoms and keep them home if they display signs of the virus.

Students are permitted to return to class when they no longer display symptoms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Third death reported in Foothills outbreak; provincial nurses union says morale low – Calgary Herald

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With so many staff members isolating, the hospital is using overtime and reassignment to cover shifts. AHS has multiple staff swabbing sites at the hospital to increase testing capacity for staff on outbreak units. They are screened twice a day.

Staff are also encouraged to take their breaks outside and adhere to physical distancing.

Harrigan said morale continues to drop and, he feels, AHS has made the situation worse.

“People have to work additional overtime and people are being asked to pick up additional shifts. We’ve heard from a number of our members that are phoning to say look, I’ve worked eight to nine consecutive days, this is starting to become too much,” he said.

He doesn’t know if anything will change if the outbreak at Foothills continues to get worse.

AHS said Wednesday the origin of the outbreaks remains unknown.

“Multiple teams are working daily to determine where the infection may have started, how it was transmitted and who needs to be contacted and tested to limit exposure,” AHS said. “This is standard procedure in our contact tracing that we implement with any outbreak.”

Hospitalizations surge in Alberta; 143 new cases

The number of Albertans hospitalized with COVID-19 increased to 59 on Wednesday, up from 51 Tuesday. Included in those hospitalizations are 13 patients in intensive-care units, up from nine.

Alberta reported 143 new cases in Wednesday’s update, bringing the total number of active cases to 1,520. The newly detected cases are from 12,317 tests completed on Tuesday, about a 1.2 per cent positive rate.

The Edmonton zone still has the highest number of active cases with 821, followed by the Calgary zone with 481.

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