Officials have identified 31 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday, according to Alberta’s deputy chief medical officer of health.
These new cases raised the total number around the province to 226, Dr. Marcia Johnson said on Saturday afternoon. Up to 16 of these cases may be due to community transmission.
There have been no additional deaths from COVID-19, Johnson said. An Edmonton man in his 60s died Wednesday, less than a week after being admitted to a hospital intensive care unit.
Johnson also said one additional person is in intensive care due to COVID-19, meaning the number in Alberta in ICU has risen to six, with 11 in total hospitalized.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, has been holding daily news conferences to keep the public aware of the spread of the virus and inform the public about any new government health directives in response to the pandemic, is taking the weekend to spend time with her family.
A new plan to allow public health inspectors to monitor large groups, restaurants, and businesses will be rolled out in the next week, Johnson said. A plan for police to be given the power to hand out fines to people not following the province’s health recommendations is also expected next week.
The total of 31 new cases is down from the 49 that were announced on Friday, but Johnson warned against taking this one positive data point as an indication that coronavirus spread is slowing.
“The whole aim of all the social distancing restrictions we’ve put in is to decrease the number of people getting ill, and to decrease the speed at which they’re getting ill,” Johnson said.
“If it is an indication, that’d be great. That’s what we’re looking for. It’s too soon to make that conclusion at this point.”
Johnson said one recognized case on Saturday came from a seniors’ home, but didn’t specify which home this case was found in in order to protect patient confidentiality.
Johnson said it’s fine for healthy people to continue going outside to get out of the house, but that it’s still important to maintain social distancing of at least two arms’ lengths away between people who do not live together.
Johnson said there will not be a news conference update on Sunday.