With rising COVID numbers in Alberta, the province’s top doctor is expected to make new recommendations to the cabinet later Monday afternoon.
Depending on how that conversation goes, Albertans can expect new measures Tuesday.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, compared the current rising cases in Alberta to a snowball rolling down the hill.
“And it is growing bigger and faster and it will continue unless we implement strong measures to stop.
“We must take action. Waiting any longer will impact our ability to care for Albertans in the weeks and months ahead.
Hinshaw said as the chief medical officer of health, her role is to provide advice to government on how to protect the health of Albertans.
“Today I will meet with the priorities implementation committee of cabinet to discuss a series of new measures to reduce the rising spread of COVID-19,” she said Monday. “Based on their decisions we will provide a detailed update to Albertans tomorrow.”
Alberta confirmed 1,549 COVID cases Monday afternoon and five additional deaths in the last 24 hours.
Death toll in the province reached 476.
There are 328 people in hospital with 62 in intensive care.
“It’s clear we have reached a precarious point in Alberta,” said Hinshaw.
“The virus is spreading faster and more widely than at any other point during the pandemic.”
Last Monday, the province announced 860 new cases. On Sunday, less than a week later, the province reported 1,584 new cases.
In recent days, the province has seen a sharp increase in daily active cases: 1,336 Saturday, 1,155 Friday and 1,105 Thursday.
Total active cases reached 13,166 on Monday compared to 12,195 on Sunday.
Active cases in central zone reached 812 compared to 714 Sunday – an increase of 98 cases.
Death toll in the local zone remains steady at 12.
There are 18 people in hospital in central zone with two in intensive care – an increase of one since Sunday.
City of Red Deer had 141 active cases Monday afternoon compared to Sunday’s 126 – an increase of 15 active cases.
According to the government’s geospatial mapping on the local geographic area setting, 62 of those cases are in Red Deer north, 64 are in Red Deer east and 15 are in southwest Red Deer (Gaetz Avenue).
In that same setting, east Ponoka County had 30 active cases Monday and Rimbey (West Ponoka County and partial Lacombe County) had nine. Wetaskiwin County (Maskwacis) is reporting 258 active cases.
On Sunday, the NDP government said they plan to seek an emergency debate on record high COVID-19 case count seen over the weekend and lack of action from Premier Jason Kenney.
“This is the greatest public health threat we have faced in our lives,” said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “When faced with great challenges, Albertans are always willing to roll up their sleeves and work together, but to do so they need leadership and a road map. So far, the premier has provided neither.”
On Saturday, in a Zoom call with the Canada India Foundation, Kenney said new measures are likely coming but he continued to reject a sweeping shutdown of businesses and community activity as intrusive and ineffective.
“We will likely have to take some more restrictive measures, given the current direction of things here. Because ultimately our goal is to protect the health-care system from being overwhelmed while minimizing damage to the broader social, economic, mental, emotional and physical health of society,” said Kenney.
“(But) our point is we are not exclusively focused on COVID-19. We understand that for every policy in response to it, there are unintended consequences.
“So we’ve taken a holistic approach, and we believe that that has been effective.”
In the municipality setting, Red Deer County had 44 active cases of COVID-19, Kneehill County had 14, Mountain View County had 13 and Lacombe County had 28.
The Town of Sylvan Lake had 24 active cases and Olds had 11 active cases and Clearwater County sits at 11 active cases.
The City of Lacombe had 14 active cases, while the City of Wetaskiwin had 58.
The County of Stettler sat at three active cases Sunday, 18 for Camrose County and 50 active in the City of Camrose.
The City of Red Deer, Red Deer County, Lacombe County, City of Lacombe, Town of Sylvan Lake, Ponoka County, County of Wetaskiwin, City of Wetaskiwin, Clearwater County, Camrose County, the City of Camrose and the Town of Olds and Mountain View County are under an enhanced watch by the province, indicating the communities have a rate of more than 50 active cases per 100,000 people.
With files from The Canadian Press