COVID-19 Updates: State of public health emergency declared.
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Good afternoon, thank you all for coming.
Since yesterday, we have confirmed 27 new cases of COVID-19.
This means that 146 cases have now been identified in our province.
We suspect up to eight of these cases are community transmission.
Two individuals are receiving care in the ICU, which we have announced previously.
I must also sadly report the first death from COVID-19 in our province.
This individual was admitted in the ICU in the Edmonton Zone on March 12, and passed away yesterday.
The patient was a male in his 60s, with underlying medical conditions.
This is extremely sad news, and all of us involved in Alberta’s COVID response feel this very deeply.
All of our thoughts are with this man’s family and loved ones. AHS assures me that they are supporting them in this difficult time.
As heart-breaking as this news is, it was expected.
This is a dangerous virus. While most people who become ill with COVID will experience only mild symptoms, it can make others very sick.
We only have to look at other countries to see how serious it is. It has been reported that Italy has just surpassed China on COVID-19 deaths.
I know that this news will scare people, and add to their anxiety.
We are doing all we can to fight the spread of this virus. This is why we have taken the extreme measures we have.
We will get through this, but to do that, we need everyone’s help.
Take this seriously. Stay home, unless it is essential for you to go out.
Now is not the time for social gatherings.
Practice social distancing if you do have to go out, including if you have to work outside of the home.
If you are struggling with today’s news, reach out to friends and loved ones and talk.
Tell them how you are feeling.
Today’s sad news is precisely why we are taking aggressive measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The restrictions we have put in place on mass gatherings, the closures of public recreation facilities and the limitations on restaurant capacity.
These are all efforts to protect the public’s health and to prevent spread.
I urge you to take these measures seriously and do your best to limit your social interactions and practice social distancing.
To assist Albertans, we have launched new resources online on social distancing to try to make things easier.
If you are wondering what steps you should take while grocery shopping, riding an elevator, or going to a restaurant go to Alberta.ca/covid19 and click “Help prevent the spread” in the Prevent and Prepare section.
Some social distancing tips include:
- Shopping during off-peak hours like first thing in the morning or late at night.
- Wipe down baskets and shopping carts before and after using them.
- Sanitizing your hands when you get off the bus or train.
- Using utensils if you are eating out, rather than eating finger foods.
- And avoiding open snack dishes such as peanuts or candy.
These are simple tips that can help us all flatten the curve and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
I have heard concerns about compliance with the public health orders we have issued to close certain facilities and limit the capacity of others.
If you have concerns about an establishment, please do not call 911. I have been hearing reports of this happening and we must leave this line open for true emergencies.
We are working with Justice and Solicitor General to develop a process for responding to these concerns and will provide an update when we reach a solution.
I want to again extend my condolences to those grieving the loss of their loved one due to COVID-19 today.
We have put aggressive measures in place to prevent the spread of this deadly infection and protect those who are most vulnerable to make the number of these tragic occurrences as small as possible.
These measures are hard on all of us.
I urge you to take them seriously.
We must continue to stand strong together even if from a distance.