Five more Covid-19 deaths at Edmonton care home, 113 new cases in province

Five more Covid-19 deaths at Edmonton care home, 113 new cases in province

EDMONTON — Five more people have died from COVID-19 at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton, bringing the total of deaths in that outbreak to 21.

“This is a stark example of the devastation this virus can cause,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday as the province reported 113 new coronavirus cases.

“We are taking this outbreak extremely seriously.”

But Hinshaw said the province would only take over operations of the long-term care home if the facility was unable to comply with mandatory public health orders.

“This has not been the case here.”

Hinshaw said Alberta Health Services has been monitoring staffing levels and that she has been assured mandatory outbreak protocols are in place. That includes twice-daily screening, widespread testing and enhanced cleaning.

Alberta has 1,408 active COVID-19 cases. Of those, 91 are in hospital and 18 are in intensive care. A total of 195 people have died.

Earlier Thursday, Calgary’s public school board outlined how it will offer online learning to families who are uncomfortable sending their children back to in-person classes in September.

Chief superintendent Christopher Usih wrote in a letter to parents that the “hub online learning approach” would be offered to students in Grades 1 through 12 only for the 2020-21 school year and would be full-time.

He said it’s a combination of online instruction and independent work and would be more stringent than the emergency-at-home learning that took place during the spring of 2020.

“It will not offer the same opportunities or supports as in-person learning,” he wrote.

“To be successful, this type of learning requires committed parent involvement and assistance.”

The board also recommends that staff and students wear masks in school and on buses, but is only making them mandatory for children who get sick while at school. In that case, a disposal mask will be provided until children can be picked up.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association has raised concern about the absence of a cap on class sizes that would ensure enough physical distancing in schools. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and others have also panned the back-to-school plan for making masks optional.

Hinshaw suggested that the plan may be tweaked in the weeks ahead as officials glean more evidence from other jurisdictions where schools have reopened.

She also detailed the results of serology tests conducted during the spring.

The tests aren’t meant to reveal whether individuals are sick or contagious, and the presence of COVID-19 antibodies does not guarantee immunity.

But Hinshaw said they provided a rough snapshot of how prevalent the virus was in the wider population and how effective testing was at that time.

“Along with the data on case numbers and hospitalizations, this indicates that Alberta’s early efforts to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19 were successful,” she said.

Anonymous blood samples from nearly 9,400 people were collected during the first week of June and less than one per cent had COVID-19 antibodies.

The findings, when applied to the broader population, suggest the province’s swab testing as of mid-May picked up 17 per cent of total infections.

“I know this number may sound low, but it’s actually very good,” she said, noting a similar British Columbia study in May found testing picked up 12.5 per cent of actual cases and other jurisdictions were much lower.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 swab tests are being expanded to any pharmacy that wants to participate and is able to meet safety requirements.

A limited number of pharmacies did more than 10,000 tests under a pilot program launched in June.

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lacombe resident creates labyrinth near Breton

Marsha Duggan encourages others to use their imagination

330 km walk for charity going through Bentley

Chris Sadleir, 45, is walking from Calgary to Edmonton to raise money for the Lung Association

School curriculum to focus on basics, says LaGrange

Minister Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer South, said it will ‘unleash student potential’

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Masks now mandatory in schools for Grades 4-12, staff

Students, teachers and staff will be provided with two reusable masks to be worn in schools

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

Maskwacis teen charged in 10-year-old boy’s death

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 14-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Most Read