St. Albert now has 223 active COVID-19 cases, with 22 new cases being diagnosed in the past 24 hours.
On Wednesday, the province released new COVID-19 data, showing the cases in St. Albert continuing to climb. Over a 48-hour period the city added 42 new cases while another 30 people recovered from the virus.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has had 647 people come down with the virus
On Monday, Alberta surpassed all other provinces for the most COVID-19 cases in the country, totalling 13,166 active cases.
At the St. Albert Retirement Residence, active COVID-19 cases are dropping, with just two residents and two staff members currently testing positive from the virus. Overall, there were 52 total positive COVID-19 cases in the residence since the start of the outbreak, with 44 of those recovered and four people who lost their lives. There were a total of 15 staff members who tested positive since the beginning of the outbreak with 13 now recovered.
Sturgeon County currently has 95 active cases, with 167 people recovered. Morinville has 33 people currently diagnosed with COVID-19 and 84 recovered.
As Alberta reaches 500 COVID-19 deaths, Alberta Health services is bracing for more cases by making 400 ICU beds and 2,000 acute care beds available to COVID-19 patients.
On Wednesday afternoon, Alberta Chief Medical officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province has reached a grim milestone of 500 deaths, with another 1,265 COVID-19 cases diagnosed overnight.
“This is a tragic milestone. My sympathies go out to the loved ones and friends of these individuals who are mourning the lives lost during what is a very difficult time to grieve,” Hinshaw said.
The province conducted around 15,600 tests in the last 24 hours with an 8.1-per-cent positivity rate. The nine deaths reported Wednesday occurred between Nov. 7 and Nov. 24 with five of the people having comorbidities.
Overall, the province has 13,719 active cases with 355 people in the hospital and 71 in intensive care. Alberta has passed 50,000 COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, which accounts for 1.2 per cent of Albertans.
As COVID-19 surges, the province has readied even more hospital space. Some of the beds are new, while others are existing beds made available by reducing non-urgent surgeries and moving patients to continuing care centres or other hospitals.
"These steps are being taken to make sure that there is sufficient capacity to meet the growing health-care need," Hinshaw said.
AHS visitor access
Effective today, AHS will be changing the rules around visitor access to acute care hospitals that have outbreaks and in communities under enhanced status.
This includes having one designated family or support person permitted under specific circumstances. For maternity patients, there is one designated family or support person permitted.
For pediatrics and critical care, there are up to two designated family or support persons allowed. For end-of-life visitation, there will be one designated family or support person allowed, with other visitors needing to prearrange with the site.
Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Great West Newspapers, covering rural Alberta issues.