BOW VALLEY – The Bow Valley hit a record number of COVID-19 cases on Friday (Nov. 20) – 92 in Banff National Park, 27 in Canmore and six in the MD of Bighorn.
The record case count came at the same time a glossy newsletter from Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin touting Alberta’s economic recovery plan hit local mailboxes this week, making national headlines as a result.
“With the worst of the COVID-19 health pandemic behind us, it is critical that we take a confident and optimistic step forward into our future as a province,” she wrote.
Over the previous 24 hours, the province of Alberta identified a record 1,155 new cases, meaning the provincial positivity rate sits at about 6.5 per cent cent.
There are currently 10,655 active cases with 310 people in hospital and 58 of those in intensive care.
“Sadly, I must report 11 new deaths over the past 24 hours,” said Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health on Friday afternoon.
“They, and everyone else who has lost a loved one recently, must navigate the experience without many of the ways we normally comfort one another.”
Former NDP MLA for the Bow Valley Cameron Westhead, who is also currently second vice-president of the United Nurses of Alberta union, has called on Rosin to apologize.
“She must address this immediately,” said Westhead, noting the UNA, like other healthcre unions, are calling for a circuit-breaker lockdown to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. “A failure to do so is unacceptable.”
Rosin could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hinshaw said that two individuals in their 30s died as a result of this virus this week. While both had co-morbidities, she said these were not on their own life-threatening.
“The average age of people experiencing hospitalization is dropping,” Hinshaw said.
“And about one in four people who need hospital care for COVID-19, and one out of every six in ICU with COVID-19, have no pre-existing medical conditions.”
Banff and Canmore remain on the list of enhanced communities, meaning there are additional health restrictions are in place.
The provincial government’s new restrictions for areas on enhanced status, which are in place Nov. 13-27 – include a mandatory 15-person limit on social and family indoor and outdoor gatherings.
All restaurants, bars, lounges and pubs will be required to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.; and wedding and funeral ceremonies are limited to 50 seated, with receptions where people mingle limited to 15 or fewer people. In addition, all faith-based organizations are asked to limit attendance to one-third capacity at any service.
Additional measures include a ban on indoor group fitness classes, team sport activities and group performance activities in Calgary and the surrounding communities of Airdrie, Chestermere, Okotoks, Rockyview County, MD Foothills, and Red Deer.