COVID-19 outbreak at Foothills Medical Centre likely had multiple sources, rise in hospitalizations concerning: officials

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“I feel like, I think, most of us feel in healthcare at the moment, we’re concerned. We need to do what we can do to bring community transmission under control and keep a closed lid on the number of cases that we need to manage.”

The significant spike in hospitalizations to 101 on Thursday is, in part, due to the outbreaks at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary and Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton.

A total of 46 patients at Foothills Medical Centre have tested positive. Of these, 11 died, 11 are active cases and 24 have recovered.

A total of 38 health-care workers and five visitors have tested positive.

The specific source of the outbreaks in multiple hospital units still hasn’t been confirmed by Alberta Health Services, who continue to investigate so they can better prevent it from happening again.

“The preliminary conclusion we’ve reached is we don’t think there is a single source that explains all of the outbreaks we’re seeing,” Jamieson explained.

“We have the ability to test the individual samples that we’ve recovered for their fingerprints, so to speak, their viral fingerprint. This is to see if we can track the movement of a specific version of the virus and that requires collaboration with some fairly sophisticated laboratory folks and techniques, and all of those resources are under a great deal of pressure at the moment.”

He said this kind of investigation takes time because of the “extensive detective work.”

There were 101 hospitalizations provincewide as of Thursday, including 16 intensive-care unit admissions, which marks the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alberta at a single time.

According to Alberta Health, a total of 974 Albertans been hospitalized due to COVID-19, 179 of whom have required intensive care.

There were 2,738 active cases in the province reported in Thursday’s update.

The 244 newly identified cases come from 12,721 tests. Alberta Health has confirmed an overall total of 21,443 cases of COVID-19 and 18,417 recoveries.

Of the active cases, 1,497 are in the Edmonton zone, 788 in the Calgary zone, 191 in the South zone, 130 in the North zone and 116 in the Central zone.

One additional death was recorded on Thursday of a man in his 80s who was linked to the outbreak at Millwoods Shepherd’s Care Centre in the Edmonton zone.

On Twitter, Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, noted that it will be at least one to two weeks before an anticipated drop in new cases because of increased, voluntary restrictions introduced in Edmonton.

“I encourage all Albertans, especially in Edmonton zone to be extra diligent right now,” she posted on Thursday.

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