Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta’s top health official says province is not in a second wave of COVID-19

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that Alberta had identified 158 new cases in the province

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the province is not in a second wave of COVID-19 despite increased daily case numbers in recent months.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that Alberta had identified 158 new cases in the province.

She said that doesn’t mean Alberta is seeing a surge in infections, although some provinces may have determined their second wave has begun.

“In Alberta, I don’t think that’s where we’re at right now. We have seen increased daily case counts for the past few months, but those have remained relatively stable,” Hinshaw told a news conference.

“When I think about a second wave, I think about a very large spike of uncontrolled spread and that’s not our only possible future.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau painted a bleaker picture in a national address Wednesday, saying a second wave is already underway in Canada’s four largest provinces, referring to Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.

“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring,” Trudeau said. “It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.”

Hinshaw said Thanksgiving in Alberta is not going to be the same as it would be pre-pandemic but it can still happen as long as people show a proper amount of caution.

“It’s natural for people to want to come together and celebrate Thanksgiving with a new level of appreciation. We all want Thanksgiving to be a safe holiday that keeps everyone healthy,” Hinshaw said.

“It’s best to keep gatherings within your established cohorts of up to 15 people outside your household. Smaller is safer. This is not the time for large gatherings.”

Hinshaw said there are currently active alerts or outbreaks at 97 Alberta schools, including 163 active cases.

She said the peak of weekly cases for students aged five to 19 was 216 back in April. But since the current school year began at the beginning of September, the numbers have dropped.

“We have actually seen a week-over-week decrease from 205 to 183 to 122 cases per week in school-aged children. This is despite a significant increase in testing.”

The Canadian Press

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