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Dr Hinshaw warns of steady climb in daily hospitalization rate

Last Updated Oct 20, 2020 at 4:55 pm MDT

Dr. Deena Hinshaw provides a COVID-19 update to Albertans on April 2, 2020. (Screenshot taken from a CityNews live stream)

Alberta reported five new cases and two recoveries of COVID-19 in Wood Buffalo in the last 24 hours.

All are within the urban service area, which has 32 active cases, one death, and 289 recoveries of the illness.

There are still three active cases and 64 resolved cases outside the urban service area.

The Face Covering Bylaw in the RMWB would come into effect when Alberta Health Services reports 50 active cases in the region.

RELATED: RMWB Council passes modified Face Covering Bylaw

Dr Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, warned Alberta could break its hospitalization threshold of five per cent.

If hospitalizations continue to increase, restrictions could return to play.

She also announced a halt to all testing of asymptomatic Albertans with no known exposure to COVID-19.

“As of Oct. 20, AHS and pharmacies will not book new appointments for Albertans seeking asymptomatic testing. All existing appointments will be honoured until Nov. 4. Only 0.11 per cent of more than 659,000 tests conducted on asymptomatic Albertans with no known exposure [has] come back positive”

Hinshaw added delays with the national COVID-19 app working in Alberta continue.

She said Alberta’s contact tracing app is still available.

When asked about Halloween parties, she recommended not holding them indoors increasing risk of spread.

In the last 24 hours, Alberta has 323 new cases and one additional death from COVID-19.

116 Albertans are in hospital, including 16 in intensive care.

Alberta has 3203 active cases, 293 deaths, and 19,500 recoveries of COVID-19.

National outlook

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to adhere to local health guidelines when considering how to celebrate Halloween next week.

The question of how to handle the spooky evening is top of mind for many parents who are trying to assess a patchwork of regional health advice, guidance and stern warnings against trick-or-treating.

Trudeau acknowledged the difficulty involved in forgoing Halloween.

“We know that it’s not easy, and it’s frustrating. Unfortunately all of us are having to make sacrifices of different types, particularly kids.”

The prime minister’s own children will likely be staying home, given Ottawa’s Stage 2 designation.

“A friend of mine suggested that maybe we could do an Easter-style treasure hunt for candy throughout the house and yard, and that’s something that we’re also reflecting on. I think families will be creative in how they respond to giving their kids as fun a holiday as we can while always listening to public health officials and respecting local guidelines.”

The COVID-19 death toll has continued its grim march over the last few days, nearing 10,000 in Canada.

Dr Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical health officer, said that’s due to increases in severe illnesses caused by the pandemic and hospitalizations.

The total number of deaths reached 9,778 on Oct. 19, with than 950 patients currently in hospital including nearly 200 in critical care.

This article includes excerpts from The Canadian Press.