EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 case numbers in the province continue to recede.
But Dr. Deena Hinshaw cautioned that the hospital situation remains precarious given the high number of patients.
And she said Albertans can’t afford to let up on health restrictions, particularly with Halloween coming up.
There were 770 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday for a new total of 10,434 active cases.
There were eight more deaths, bringing that total to 3,014.
Alberta Health Services said there are 912 people in hospital with COVID-19, and that 201 of them are in intensive care.
Alberta remains under gathering restrictions for indoor and outdoor events, and Hinshaw said it’s important to stick to those limits at Halloween.
Hinshaw urged those setting out candy for trick or treaters to not use bowls, but to set out the candy spaced apart on a surface like a blanket.
She said those who want to have a Halloween party should consider a small gathering of vaccinated people.
"This is not the year for large Halloween parties," Hinshaw said.
"If you're planning a Halloween gathering, try to have it outdoors and make sure the limit of no more than 20 people is observed."
Hinshaw noted that last Oct. 31 there were 5,600 active COVID-19 cases, about half the current total. There were 141 people in hospital with the illness a year ago.
Alberta continues to battle a fourth wave of the pandemic.
The province has more than doubled the normal number of 173 critical care beds and Alberta Health Services has had to cancel thousands of non-urgent surgeries to handle the surge.
Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said with winter coming and COVID-19 still circulating, the province needs to provide stable funding to social agencies for winter emergency shelters.
"All people deserve to live in dignity and have a safe place to call home," said Notley. "These calls are urgent. It's getting cold outside, and our northern winter will be here soon."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.
The Canadian Press