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Hinshaw says no additional changes to public health measures planned

“We are on a positive trend. Our numbers indicate that the restrictions that we put in place last month, while extremely challenging, are helping to prevent more people from being exposed and getting sick with this virus.”
20210116 Banff Avenue 0030
Pedestrian walk along a crowded Banff Avenue on Saturday (Jan. 16). EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO

BOW VALLEY – Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported Thursday (Jan. 21) no additional easements to health measures are currently planned in the province.

Overwhelmingly Albertans are doing their part by to help lower COVID-19 case number by following health measures, Hinshaw said, but cautioned no additional measures can be eased at this time.

The Town of Canmore reported seven active cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday (Jan. 20); while Banff and Lake Louise reported 10 active cases. According to data from Alberta Health, there was also 162 active cases within the MD of Bighorn, which includes cases from parts of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation as well. 

In Alberta, 678 new cases of the virus were identified over the last 24-hours after the completion of around 14,000 tests.

There are 726 people hospitalized due to the virus including, 119 in intensive care.

An additional 16-COVID related deaths were reported. To date 1,500 Albertas have died.

The provincial positivity rate sits at 4.8 per cent.

“Our positivity rates, active cases and hospitalizations are continuing to decline – this is good news,” Hinshaw said. “We are on a positive trend. Our numbers indicate that the restrictions that we put in place last month, while extremely challenging, are helping to prevent more people from being exposed and getting sick with this virus.”

Hinshaw said it is not possible to see an easement of measures by health zone given the high numbers of active COVID-19 cases across the province.

“COVID-19 cannot be restricted to a specific municipality. What we have seen, certainly over the fall, is how interconnected we all are.” Hinshaw said. “The movement between different towns, the movement between large urban centres and small rural areas – all of that movement is part of what spread COVID-19.”

She added it is encouraging to see case counts and the provincial positivity rate fall, but there is still a need to ensure the health-care system is not overwhelmed in Alberta.

Hinshaw noted hospitalization numbers need to be taken in context. Despite the progress that has been made in the province, there are still as many COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Thursday (Jan. 21) as there were on Dec. 8, when current restrictions were first announced.

“We must keep limiting our in-person interactions as much as possible,” Hinshaw said. “I encourage everyone to be intentional and thoughtful with their outings and social gatherings – together we can keep protecting each other and the health care system we all rely on.”

There are currently 10,256 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.