Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed 67 new cases of COVID-19 on March 26, bringing the total number of Albertans who have been infected to 486. That number includes 27 people who have now recovered.
Twenty-one individuals are being treated in hospital, with 10 receiving intensive care. Up to 34 people are suspected to have been acquired the virus in the community, and it's "clear there are cases in the community we have not detected," Hinshaw said.
Thirteen symptomatic individuals at the McKenzie Towne Long Term Care facility in Calgary have tested positive, an increase of eight cases of COVID-19 from the day before. There are no additional reports of more people sick with the virus at any other continuing care facilities mentioned in a previous update, Hinshaw said.
A COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed March 24 at the Nelson Home, a Calgary group home for persons with developmental disabilities. Two care workers and a resident have tested positive for COVID-19, and two other residents have been tested with no results available yet. All individuals are self-isolating.
To date, 17 cases have been identified in staff and residents of continuing care facilities, including 14 in McKenzie Towne Long Term Care, one case in Rosedale on the Park and two at Shepherd’s Care Kensington Village.
There are now eight cases of COVID-19 in St. Albert, five in Sturgeon County West.
There is positive news as Hinshaw reported 27 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 24 from previous numbers.
It has been three weeks since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Alberta, Hinshaw said, and there "will be challenges in the coming weeks."
"This virus has challenged us all, and so many of us have risen to that challenge with hope and resilience," she said.
To further protect those who are most vulnerable to exposure, Alberta Health Services has developed an online assessment tool specifically for health care workers, which will launch tomorrow morning. This is in addition the public online assessment tool.
"Many other decisions may also need to be made in the coming days as our health care system works to free up space, increase capacity, and use every doctor, nurse and staff member as effectively as possible. The health system is preparing for every possible scenario in the days ahead."
Hinshaw took a moment to commend the efforts of Alberta's health care system and other sectors, recognizing the efforts of the "unsung heroes" working behind the scenes. For example, laboratories have increased their testing capacity to more than 3,000 tests per day over the course of a month.
"I want to express my heartfelt admiration for all health care professionals in this province who are working to respond to this virus," she said.
"They are on the front lines, working countless hours over difficult circumstances to slow the spread and keep us safe.
"It's not just healthcare workers who are heroes in this response. Across Alberta, first responders, community leaders, social service workers, and workers in shelters for vulnerable Albertans, just to name a few... all of these have undertaking tremendous work to support this response and protect Albertans."
While only a small percentage of Alberta's population have tested positive for the virus, 10 people are in intensive care, which is incredibly serious, she said. It's more important than ever for all Albertans to take preventative measures to slow the spread.
"I want to remind everyone that we do not have a vaccine for this virus," she said. "If we don't take action now, if we wait until we're in a situation where our hospitals are overwhelmed, it's too late. "
Albertans are reminded to stay home if sick, continuously wash hands for at least 20 seconds throughout the day, and implement social-distancing measures through every aspect of daily life.
Aggregate data, showing cases by age range and zone, as well as by local geographical areas, is available online at alberta.ca/covid19statistics.
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