Just eight new cases of COVID-19 and one death were reported in the Lakeland by Alberta Health on Feb. 2 according to the latest data available on the province’s COVID-19 map.
The new cases were located in Bonnyville, Cold Lake, and Smoky Lake according to the municipality view of the map.
Across the province, the positivity rate declined to 3.5 per cent with just 259 new cases and 11 deaths reported overnight. There are 539 people in hospital, with 94 of them in the ICU.
According to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, while the downward trends are encouraging, it is important to recognize things are still much more grim than they were the province initially relaunched in the spring.
“When we started our first relaunch on May 14, there were 57, people in hospital, a 10th of the total that we have today. Similarly, we now have 6599, active cases. This is less than one third of our peak of 21,231 active cases on December 13, and all Albertans should be proud of that fact. But once again, it’s also important to remember that when we relaunched in the spring. There were less than 1000 active cases and the community, meaning that there are almost seven times the active case today, that there were at that time,” said Hinshaw.
She emphasized the importance of slow, phased approach to re-opening because of the risk posed by new variants of the virus.
Hinshaw also clarified her comments yesterday regarding how long household members must quarantine if a family member or roommate becomes ill with one of the new variants.
“If the case remains at home for the full time they are considered infectious, household contacts are considered to be exposed each day that they share that household. That means that a 14-day quarantine for anyone in the household starts on the last day that the positive case spends in the home while infectious,” said Hinshaw.
She noted there is government support for either the infectious person or their family members to quarantine in a hotel, which would make it possible for contacts to limit their isolation period to 14-days rather than the 24 required if they remain in contact with the infectious person for the duration of the illness.
Vaccination of eligible Albertans continues with approximately 19,000 people having received both doses of vaccine. According to Hinshaw, reports of a small number of people skipping the line are likely the result of administrative errors when there was more vaccine available than appointments booked.
“That is not a deliberate choice in terms of adding people to the list who were not a part of the criteria, but was a result again, of trying to reach out to many thousands of people in a very quick way. And unfortunately, in some cases those lists were not entirely up to date and there may have been some people on those lists, who for various reasons had moved on and there may be people who were not on those lists who needed to be and we’re working with Alberta Health Services to make sure that processes are put in place to fix that, but ultimately again, it is a challenge when we’re trying to move very quickly and trying to contact large numbers of people in a very short time period,” said Hinshaw.