Alberta identifies first three COVID-19 outbreaks in schools

Outbreaks are located at two schools in Calgary and one in Lethbridge

The government of Alberta has confirmed its first three COVID-19 outbreaks at schools.

A high school in Lethbridge, and an elementary school and high school in Calgary have declared outbreaks, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, revealed during a live update Thursday.

“While we are calling these outbreaks, this is a very cautious use of the term,” Hinshaw said.

“We are acting out of an abundance of caution by treating two cases who are in a school while infectious within a 14-day span as an outbreak, even when the cases are within one family. This is an extremely low threshold to meet.

“All outbreaks are still under investigation by AHS. There is no evidence of transmission within the school in any of these outbreaks. Rather, in each of these schools, there are two confirmed cases that were present in the school while infectious.”

Alberta Health Services has confirmed 24 cases that were present at 21 schools while infectious, said Hinshaw.

Anytime one confirmed case is identified as having been infectious while in a school, and anytime an outbreak is declared, all parents and guardians at the school will receive a letter from AHS.

“This is sent as soon as either of those situations are identified to ensure those who are most impacted, the staff and families at the school, are informed of the outbreak, the actions that are being taken and any next steps,” she said.

The provincial government reported 113 new COVID-19 cases within Alberta during Thursday’s update.

There are currently 1,494 active cases in the province, 45 of which are located within the central zone.

Red Deer now has 17 active cases, which is one fewer case than Wednesday’s update. Seventy-eight people have recovered in the city.

Sylvan Lake has six active cases, the City of Lacombe has one active case and the City of Wetaskiwin has two active cases.

Five new deaths have been reported – these deaths occurred “in last few days,” said Hinshaw.

The government also announced Albertans can now receive COVID-19 test results – positive or negative – via text message.

Individuals who book a COVID-19 test through ahs.ca/covid or drop in for testing at an AHS assessment centre can choose to get their results over text message or automated phone call.

Anyone who does not consent to receiving results this way will instead receive their results through a call from an AHS team member.



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