Public health tracking four COVID-19 outbreaks linked to Edmonton restaurants

Health officials were tracking outbreaks of COVID-19 linked to four Edmonton restaurants on Tuesday, as the province Alberta reported 41 new cases of the respiratory illness.

The four restaurants were the Greta Bar (15 cases), Earl’s Tin Palace (six cases), The Pint (10 cases) and Local (nine cases) on Jasper Avenue, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference. 

“Alberta Health Services is working closely with operators to facilitate testing and ensure all necessary steps are taken to protect public health,” Hinshaw said.

“We are encouraging anyone who attended any of those locations in the last two weeks to get tested.

“I want to reiterate that these restaurants, and those who have been tested, are doing the right thing by taking steps to contain this outbreak. As I have said before, it is critical that we do not shame those who test positive, but rather support them to isolate and work with public health to do contact tracing and followup as these restaurants have done.”

Public health is also tracking an outbreak at The Verve, a highrise apartment building in Calgary, which has been linked to 49 cases, 33 of them still active. The cause of that outbreak is still under investigation, Hinshaw said.

One Edmonton region, Mill Woods West, and Calgary Centre, have been placed under watch classifications.

Regions with at least 10 active cases and a rate of over 50 active cases per 100,000 population are considered above threshold and watched to see if additional health measures need to be put in place.

Also on Tuesday, the limit on outdoor gatherings in Alberta was increased from 100 to 200 people as the province prepares for a Canada Day celebration unlike any seen in at least a century.

The higher limit applies to outdoor events such as festivals, fireworks displays, rodeos, sporting events and performances, Alberta Health said in a news release.

All public health measures, including physical distancing, remain in place.

“Seated outdoor events will still require the necessary space between families and cohorts within stadium-style seating,” the news release said.

“Any large gathering increases the risk of transmission. Evidence suggests that outdoor events have a lower risk of transmission, provided other public health guidance is followed.”

The 41 additional cases reported on Tuesday brings the total number of active cases in the province to 549.

The breakdown by region was:

  • Edmonton zone: 257 cases.
  • Calgary zone: 246 cases.
  • North zone: 37 cases.
  • South zone: 28 cases.
  • Central zone: four cases
  • Unknown: one case.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, provided her latest COVID-19 update at a news conference on Tuesday.

Case numbers in the province have been inching up in recent days. Alberta reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. 

It was the biggest spike in new cases since May 16, when 72 were reported.

As of Tuesday, there were 559 active cases in the province, with 41 people in hospital, including nine in intensive care.

So far, 154 people in the province have died from the illness.

The age breakdown of those who have died is:

  • 80 years or older, 108 deaths.
  • 70-79 years, 31 deaths.
  • 60-69 years, 10 deaths.
  • 50-59 years, two deaths.
  • 40-49 years, one death.
  • 30-39 years, one death.
  • 20-29, one death.

By Monday, 7,354 people had recovered from COVID-19 in Alberta, and the province had completed 442,253 tests.