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Hinshaw warns of grim future for Alberta if COVID-19 curve does not recover

If the province does not change its trajectory regarding COVID-19, the implications could be grim. That’s the message of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who notes nearly one-quarter of COVID-19 related fatalities in Alberta have occurred since November 1st.

“The daily COVID-19 death count is a tragic reminder that COVID-19 is not just a flu; it is life and death,” she said Wednesday. “It is often the outcome of choices made by Albertans who may not even know the victims.”

Despite the new COVID-19 public health measures and restrictions set in place for parts of Alberta, Dr. Hinshaw reports many groups have instead found loopholes in order to continue activities.

“I have seen examples of fitness studios running group classes with a video rather than an instructor,” she says. “Some team sport practices have continued by moving to a neighbouring community’s rink, and some teams continue to socialize together simply because they are in a cohort as a team.”

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The restrictions, which were made effective on November 13th, apply to all communities on the “Enhanced” list. These include a mandatory 15-person limit on family and social gatherings, a mandatory ban on indoor group fitness classes & team sports until November 27th and a mandatory ban on group singing, dancing & performing activities, among others.

Hinshaw clarifies the intent of the imposed public health restrictions is to facilitate a two-week hard stop of all activity that can provide an opportunity for large-scale COVID-19 spread. She adds she has heard some refuse to comply, due to suspicions that the hard stop will last longer than two weeks.

Almost one in three cases of COVID-19 in the province have contracted the virus from sources Alberta Health Services can’t identify. As of November 15th, roughly 40 per cent of cases have been traced back to house parties and private gatherings.

Another 10 per cent of COVID-19 cases have been linked to continuing care facilities, four per cent to childcare or K-12 schools, and three per cent to acute care outbreaks.

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