The Government of Alberta identified 1,738 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.
The province now has 20,161 active cases of the virus to go along with 55,947 recovered cases. Eighteen new deaths were also reported Friday, bringing the death toll to 684.
Restrictions intended to stop the spread of COVID-19, announced earlier this week, for businesses and services will begin Saturday at midnight, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during a live update.
“This weekend, please do not rush into malls or cram into businesses … before the restrictions kick in,” said Hinshaw.
“Don’t host a holiday or Hanukah party just because you don’t think you’ll get caught. Don’t plan a family gathering just because you’re pretty sure that your family doesn’t have COVID.”
The City of Red Deer now has 408 active COVID-19 cases, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website. That’s up 22 from the previous 386.
Red Deer County has 105 active cases (up from the previous 98), Sylvan Lake has 60, Lacombe County has 65, Lacombe has 39, Clearwater County has 69, Olds has 27, Mountain View County has 28 and Stettler County has 20.
Collectively, Ponoka County and Wetaskiwin County have 249.
Alberta Health Services’ central zone sits at 1,502 active cases, while the Edmonton zone has 9,570, the Calgary zone has 7,166, the north zone has 1,240 and the south zone has 612. The location for 71 active cases is currently unknown.
Provincially, 684 people are in hospital due to the virus, with 123 of those individuals in intensive care. Fifty-eight people have been hospitalized in the central zone – five of those individuals have been admitted into an intensive care unit.
According to the government website, average age for COVID cases hospitalized is 62 years and average age for COVID cases not hospitalized is 36 years.
During Friday’s live update, Hinshaw said AHS has made the decision to limit on-site designated support people in all acute care facilities.
“Effective Monday, access for designated support persons in AHS acute care settings will be limited to just one designated support people for each patient in ambulatory care, emergency departments, urgent care, maternity or postpartum and other in-patient areas.”
Access will be limited to up to two designated support persons for each patient in critical care, paediatrics and the neonatal intensive care unit, she added.
“We know these restrictions will be difficult, especially during the holiday season. But they are needed to stop spread of the virus and to keep patients safe.”