Dr. Deena Hinshaw urges smaller family events, fewer cohorts in Edmonton to battle surging COVID-19 cases

Dr. Deena Hinshaw is recommending all private gatherings in Edmonton be limited to 15 people, that masks be worn in all indoor work settings except when employees are at their desks, and that people limit their cohort groups to three.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health announced new voluntary measures for the Edmonton zone at a news conference Thursday.

“These measures are voluntary because we still have sufficient hospital beds and capacity to meet the current needs in Edmonton,” Hinshaw said. “But we are moving forward with them because it is important to use our current data as a call to action.”

All private and family social gatherings should be limited to no more than 15 people rather than the current 50 people, she said.

“The fewer people we come into contact with, the lower risk of exposure or of us exposing others,” Hinshaw said. 

Masks should be worn in all indoor work settings except when alone in work spaces such as cubicles or work spaces where workers can be safely distant from others, or where an appropriate barrier is in place, she said.

Finally, she asked people living in the Edmonton zone to limit the number of their cohorts to three.

Alberta reported 364 new cases of COVID-19, the highest new-case count ever, and two new deaths Thursday.

Three quarters of all new cases in the province — 276 — in Edmonton.

The Edmonton zone now has 1,250 active cases 169 more cases than Thursday’s record number.

Edmonton had asked for new measures

City of Edmonton administrators asked the province Wednesday to further reduce limits for gatherings, encourage more businesses to let their employees work from home, restrict non-essential travel and pare down cohort sizes. 

As of Thursday, Alberta had 2,097 active cases of COVID-19 and recorded 283 deaths.

There are now 77 people in hospital, nine more than Wednesday, while 13 of those are in intensive care.

The new deaths include a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s, both from the Calgary zone.

Both deaths are linked to the outbreak at Foothills Medical Centre and were reported Wednesday by AHS. 

Fourteen schools were on the province’s watch list, meaning they have five or more cases.

The regional breakdown of active cases on Thursday was:

  • Edmonton zone: 1,250 cases
  • Calgary zone:  604 cases
  • North zone:  97 cases
  • South zone: 92 cases
  • Central zone: 39 cases
  • Unknown: 14 cases

The total number of completed COVID-19 tests was 1,472,658.

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