"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.

427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

The province identified 427 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.

It marked the second straight day the province recorded more than 400 cases, and there are now 3,519 active cases of the virus in Alberta.

In her twice-weekly press conference, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there is concern and the province will look at ways to slow the spread.

“I am very concerned about the rise in numbers. We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be.

“The leading source for active exposures is close contact, and many of the cases we are seeing now are the result of spread over Thanksgiving, when families gathered together.

“People did not mean to spread COVID, but it is a reminder that social gatherings, where distancing and masking are not used consistently, they are a significant risk for spread,” she said.

In Ontario and Quebec, strict measures to curb the spread have already been put in place.

Ontario halted indoor dining in hot-spot regions and closed some gyms earlier this month, as well as lowering gathering limits.

In late September, Quebec put restrictions on bars and restaurants in hot-spot locations and banned home gatherings.

Despite the rise in cases, Hinshaw still encouraged Albertans to take part in Halloween activities, as long as social distancing measures are being used and masks are worn.

She said the next week will be crucial in helping fight further spread of the virus.

“We have brought down our infection rates before, and we can do it again. If you were waiting for that moment to take COVID seriously – to start going the extra mile – this is it,” Hinshaw said.

“This weekend, let’s all be extra careful and extra cautious. We are all in this together and we are powerful together.”

In Alberta, the Edmonton zone remains one of the key hot spots, with 1,718 active cases of the virus, almost half of the province’s total.

The Calgary zone has 1,260 active cases. The province currently has 112 hospitalizations, with 18 in the ICU.

In the central zone, there are 126 active cases, with four in hospital and none in the ICU.

Red Deer still sits at 32 active cases, with 125 recoveries.

There are 38 active cases of COVID-19 in Maskwacis. Red Deer County and Lacombe County each have nine active cases.

Mountain View County has four active cases and Olds has three active cases. The County of Wetaskiwin and Camrose County each have one active case.

The City of Camrose has three and Wetaskiwin has two. The County of Stettler sits at seven active cases.

Hinshaw said there are active alerts or outbreaks in about nine per cent of all schools, with a total of 561 cases. There are 101 schools with an outbreak, including 21 on the watch list, with five or more cases.

Hinshaw said non-urgent surgeries in Edmonton have been postponed due to the continued rise of COVID-19 cases in the region.

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