As COVID-19 death toll hits 815, Hinshaw warns opioid crisis also ongoing

·1 min read

Alberta Health reported 25 more deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the death toll to 815. The number comes one day after the province set a record with 30 deaths.

But during her daily press conference, Dr. Deena Hinshaw reminded Albertans that COVID-19 is not the only health crisis facing the province.

It has already been the deadliest year for fatal overdoses and poisonings in Alberta, which has reported 904 deaths between January and October. Hinshaw said 449 of those deaths were accidental opioid overdoses.

Hinshaw said it is difficult to blame specific factors for the increase, but acknowledged health restrictions that began in March likely worsened the crisis as recovery supports either limited access or shut down.

“It is a sad reminder that while COVID-19 is a serious and deadly pandemic, it is not the only public health crisis impacting our families and communities,” said Hinshaw.

Hinshaw said the province is showing early signs of lowering case numbers. There are currently 19,607 active cases in Alberta, the lowest number the province has seen in two weeks.

Yet, she warned it is too early to declare victory. The Alberta health system is still stressed and if too many people ignore health regulations over Christmas, Hinshaw said cases could rise again in January.

“Bend the curve, not the rules,” she said. “If each of us follows the restrictions in place, we can keep reducing the spread.”

Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today