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Changes coming to COVID-19 contact notifications

Last Updated Oct 8, 2020 at 4:37 pm MST

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

Parents received a heads up from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health that the province is changing the way it notifies them of possible COVID-19 contact in schools.

Dr Deena Hinshaw tweeted ahead of her 3:30 p.m. news conference on Oct. 8.

Her tweet said Alberta Health Services will begin testing a new way of notifying parents of their children coming into contact with a case of COVID-19.

She said parents will be sent an email instead of receiving a phone call.

Parents will get immediate notice and AHS can share detailed written instructions on the steps they need to take.

AHS also updated information on what to do if your child feels unwell or has been notified of close contact with someone who has tested positive.

A recent poll found 13 per cent of parents surveyed had a child sent home because of COVID-19 related symptoms only a month into the school year.

READ MORE: More parents missing work due to COVID-19 in schools: survey

COVID-19 response

The province reported two new cases and five recovered cases of COVID-19 in Wood Buffalo in the last 24 hours.

All are inside the urban service area, which has 28 active cases, one death, and 260 recoveries of the illness.

Alberta issued a correction for outside the urban service area.

One previously recovered case rejoined the active count for three active cases and 64 resolved cases of COVID-19 in this area.

Across Alberta, there are 364 new cases and two additional deaths in the last 24 hours.

AHS said both deaths are from Calgary’s Foothills Hospital.

The positivity rate among the 16,408 tests conducted during that time is more than 2.2 per cent.

276 new cases are from in the Edmonton Zone, which has 1251 active cases.

Dr Deena Hinshaw said she is concerned about the rise in cases saying that zone faces a crucial juncture.

Hinshaw said voluntary measures in the city of Edmonton are now in place.

Hinshaw suggested citizens wear masks indoors while at work unless they are alone at work or otherwise sectioned off from others.

There are also limits on gatherings to 15 people for weddings, funerals, family gatherings and other social events.

She also recommended Edmontonians, outside of school settings, limit to three cohorts.

When asked about mandatory restrictions, she mentioned that would happen only with a rise in hospitalization and in ICU bed usage.

Hinshaw said the rest of Alberta is steady with its response to COVID-19, but they should maintain its vigilance to further reduce the spread.

Alberta Health Services said two units within Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital have an outbreak of COVID-19.

It’s the second outbreak at the hospital since the start of the pandemic.

AHS said eight patients tested positive for the novel coronavirus along with two healthcare workers.

29 other workers will self-isolate as a result.

During a previous eight-week period last summer, COVID-19 infected 58 people linked to Misericordia Hospital, which included 11 deaths.

When asked about the decline in active cases in Calgary, Hinshaw could only suppose it may be due to the early impacts of transmission.

Alberta has 2097 active cases, 283 deaths, and 17,338 recoveries of COVID-19.

77 Albertans are in hospital with 13 in intensive care.

This article includes excerpts from 660 News.