COVID-19 continues to spread in rural Alberta

·2 min read

Alberta’s top doctor is reminding Albertans that the COVID-19 virus is spreading across the whole province, not just in large urban centres.

On Thursday afternoon, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said COVID-19 cases are rising and spreading in rural communities.

The warning came on the same day the province broke another daily case record with 1,854 new cases found in the past 24 hours.

“COVID-19 is not a Calgary problem or an Edmonton problem. This is a provincial problem within a global problem,” Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw said in the spring rural communities were less impacted than urban areas by the virus' spread, but right now, cases are growing in the north, central and south zones, with one third of all active cases outside of the province's two major cities.

COVID-19 doesn’t care where you live or what your postal code is, Hinshaw said, and she reminded residents it just takes one case in a community to cause an outbreak.

On top of spread, Hinshaw said it may be more difficult to access services for serious outcomes in rural areas, including being further away from health care and intensive care beds.

On Thursday, the province saw 1,854 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day case climb yet.

“Anyone who contracts the virus needs our support,” Hinshaw said, reminding residents to not stigmatize those who have come down with COVID-19.

In the last 24 hours, the province has conducted 19,600 tests, with 9.5 per cent coming back positive.

There are currently 17,743 active cases of the virus in Alberta, with 511 people in the hospital and 97 in intensive care.

“These numbers are very concerning and I know that AHS is watching them closely,” Hinshaw said.

In the past 24 hours, 14 deaths due to COVID-19 were reported.

“Sharing the number of lives lost is a little more difficult each day because I know the pain and sadness their deaths cause for their families and friends left behind,” Hinshaw said.

On Nov. 24, the province announced new restrictions to help curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the province, with most of the restrictions kicking in on Friday and Monday.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette