COVID-19 cases in Alberta have more than tripled in past week

Despite increasingly dire warnings about the paramount importance of social and physical distancing, Alberta has seen the number of cases of COVID-19 cases more than triple over the past week — from 74 cases on March 16 to 259 on Sunday.

As the province enters its second week of what she calls “the new normal,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, will update the situation Monday afternoon at a news conference from the legislature.

The week began with strong words from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the announcement of new testing protocols in Alberta.

In a news release Monday, Hinshaw said testing for COVID-19 will now give priority to people who are most at risk of developing extreme symptoms or infecting others in the community. 

Rather than get tested, she said, those with “mild symptoms” should stay home and self-isolate.

At a news conference in Ottawa on Monday, Trudeau made it clear the federal government will take whatever measures are needed to enforce public health warnings.

“Enough is enough,” Trudeau said to those who aren’t complying. “Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to be doing.”

People who choose to ignore that advice are putting themselves and others at risk, Trudeau said.

Alberta reported 33 new cases on Sunday afternoon. As of Sunday, 18 patients were hospitalized, including seven in intensive care. Alberta reported its first death last Wednesday — an Edmonton man in his 60s.

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