CALGARY — There are now almost 100 active cases connected to an outbreak of coronavirus at a northeast Calgary church, but Alberta’s top doc wants residents to steer clear of placing blame on that community.
According to the latest data released Thursday, Alberta Health says there are 98 active cases of COVID-19 among people who attended a service at the Calgary Kidanemhret Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
The number is almost double what was originally reported Monday.
During her update Thursday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the most important thing is for residents to avoid stigmatizing anyone who may have been at the church as well as anyone in that community.
“I cannot emphasize enough that supporting those involved in outbreaks is critical to our collective success. I have heard that this community is now being targeted and stigmatized because of this outbreak and I will say again that when that happens, we are all put at risk.
“Stigmatizing those with this illness only increases the possibility that fear of this negative attention will keep people from being tested and drive the virus underground. We cannot fight COVID in the dark.”
She added she is grateful to all the church members and leaders who have already undergone testing for COVID-19.
The outbreak resulted in health officials requesting anyone who attended the church over the past two weeks to take a number of precautions. They include pursuing proper testing through Alberta Health Services, self-isolating if they have symptoms and keeping their children home from school.
“The recommendations that I mentioned Monday apply only to those who attended the church from Aug. 9 to Aug. 23. I recommend that anyone that attended the church on those dates go for testing.”
The investigation into how the outbreak began is still ongoing.