For the second day in a row, Alberta Health confirmed a new record high of COVID-19 cases Saturday with 1,336 over a 24 hour period, as well as nine deaths connected to the virus.
Four of the deaths reported Saturday were from the Edmonton zone: a man in his 90s linked to an outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence, as well as a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 60s.
Three of the deaths were from the Calgary zone, including a woman in her 60s connected to an outbreak at Foothills Medical Centre and a man in his 90s connected to an outbreak at Carewest George Boyack. The third death was a man in his 70s.
There were also two deaths in the South zone: a man in his 70s linked to an outbreak at AgeCare Sunrise Gardens and a woman in her 20s.
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The nine additional deaths announced on Saturday brings Alberta’s pandemic death toll to 471.
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There are now 11,274 active cases in the province; 4,394 in the Calgary zone and 4,941 in the Edmonton zone.
There are 320 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19; 56 of whom are in intensive care units.
In a tweet on Saturday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to not go to health care facilities if feeling sick unless in need of care.
Dont go to a health care facility if you are ill unless you need care. Answer #COVID19AB screening questions honestly & fully. Its hard to not visit or accompany a loved one in hospital, but we can not risk having one COVID positive person who does not isolate & exposes others.
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) November 21, 2020
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Alberta Health has confirmed 45,288 cases of COVID since the start of the pandemic, with 33,543 being reported as recovered.
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On Nov. 12, Premier Jason Kenney joined Hinshaw for the news conference, announcing new health measures in an attempt to lower COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations. They included a request not to host social gatherings at home and that masks be worn in work places.
At the time, the province also announced indoor group fitness classes and team sports would be prohibited for two weeks from Nov. 13-27 in the Calgary area, Edmonton area, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Red Deer.
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Restaurants and pubs in the above areas, as well as areas on enhanced status must stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. This measure will also be in place from Nov. 13-27.
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The mayor of Calgary said this week he doesn’t think the current restrictions are helping.
“We should have seen numbers go down by now,” Naheed Nenshi said during a 770 CHQR interview on The Morning News With Sue Deyell And Andrew Schultz on Friday.
“Typically we see the numbers respond — if they’re going to respond — within five to 14 days. Fourteen is really the outlier. And the fact that they haven’t responded is actually quite concerning.
“It’s not about panic or fear but it’s about being very clear-headed… about looking at these numbers and where they’re going.”
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Nenshi said the most concerning numbers are the rising hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths. He said he spoke with Hinshaw and the premier earlier this week and they’re also very, very worried.
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“It’s very clear that they’re very concerned by these numbers. The premier continues to be concerned about particularly what will happen to retail businesses as we go into the Christmas season if we have more of a shutdown.
“But I think it’s pretty clear that more restrictive measures will be coming for the province sooner rather than later,” he said.
“I would not be at all surprised if they went with more restrictions prior to the end of the two-week period that they announced last week, especially with numbers like yesterday’s.”
Whatever rules are in place, Nenshi is encouraging people to support local business as much as possible but in a safe way: shop online and order from a small local business using its website, delivery or curb-side pickup.
“A lot of businesses have been telling me: ‘Look, if you’re going to do this, please do it now so we have the opportunity to salvage some of the Christmas season… Get this over with. Don’t keep waiting,’” Nenshi said.
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“[Friday], Ontario is going to announce more restrictions, there’s now a mask mandate in every province across the country except Alberta, so I imagine the pressure on the provincial government on this is pretty high.
“Let’s not wait for government to tell us the right thing to do,” he added. “It’s time for people to start restricting our activities now.”
With files from Global News reporter Emily Mertz
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