Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she is concerned about rising cases in the province, including variants. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says she is concerned about rising cases in the province, including variants. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

COVID-19 variant outbreak ‘confined’ to three work sites in Alberta’s central, north zones

More than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases identified over the Easter weekend in province

Three worksites within the Central and North zones are linked to a COVID-19 outbreak involving P.1 variants of concern.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said Monday the outbreak, involving the variant from Brazil, appears to be linked to a “large employer” with multiple sites across western Canada.

“The outbreak started with a traveller returning to Alberta from out of province. To date, the spread has been confined to three work sites in Central and North zone, where employees travelled between sites,” Hinshaw said on Twitter.

“We have now identified 26 COVID-19 cases linked to employees at these three sites, and their household contacts. So far, only three are confirmed P.1 cases, but this will likely increase as more results come in.”

Hinshaw said AHS has been working with the operator to ensure anyone at risk of exposure is offered resting and quarantines to limit the spread.

“This includes employees at other sites who may have been exposed,” she said.

Exact location of the three sites was not known Monday.

A separate second P.1 outbreak has also been reported at a workplace in the Calgary zone. There are five cases linked to this outbreak, including one confirmed case of the P.1 variant.

“These investigations are complex and it’s important that we ensure information is accurate and that anyone at risk is directly contacted before sharing details. We also must balance the public desire for info with protecting patient confidentiality,” said Hinshaw.

“I am concerned about the rising cases, including variants, in our province. Please keep making safe choices and limit in-person interactions whenever possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 province-wide.”

More than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases were identified over the Easter weekend.

On Sunday, 887 cases were identified, on Saturday there were 948, on Friday there were 1,071 and on Thursday there were 1,081.

The province only released preliminary information over the weekend and the exact numbers weren’t released until Monday afternoon.

There are now 10,582 active cases of the virus in the province, to go along with the 140,641 recovered cases. Thirty-nine per cent of all active cases in the province are variants of concern, said Hinshaw.

Four additional deaths have been reported since April 1, including a man in his 80s in the Central zone.

The City of Red Deer now has 220 active cases of the viruses, which is 13 more than the most recent update on Thursday, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website.

When looking at the geospatial mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.

With that setting, Red Deer County has 41 active cases, the City of Lacombe has 44, Lacombe County has 45, Sylvan Lake has 26, Mountain View County has 31, Olds has 29, Clearwater County has nine and Stettler County has five.

The City of Camrose has 26 active cases, Camrose County has 18, Kneehill County has 17 and Drumheller has 31.

On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 125 active. Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 131 active cases and Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County, has three active.

Overall, the Central zone has 874 active cases of the virus.

Provincially, 312 are currently in hospital due to COVID-19, with 76 of those individuals in an intensive care unit. The Central zone has 32 hospitalizations, with five of those individuals in ICU.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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