COVID-19 Updates: Protecting Albertans from the Omicron variant.
Check against delivery
Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming.
Before I provide an update on today’s cases, I would like to begin by clarifying some of the updates I shared yesterday.
I indicated an individual had died at Edmonton’s Rosedale facility.
This man, who was in his 80s, passed away in the hospital.
Rosedale is an independent seniors’ facility supported by homecare.
The resident who passed away was independent and did not receive care.
He had not been at Rosedale since March 17.
And at this time, no other resident or Rosedale staff member have been identified as having COVID-19.
I had also indicated that Edmonton's Shepherd’s Care Kensington had 6 active COVID-19 cases. This information was inaccurate and was clarified for public health officials shortly after my availability. Their number remains at 4, as had previously been reported.
We took immediate steps to correct these inaccuracies in published information to ensure Albertans continue to have the most accurate information possible.
I have also been in contact with Rosedale and apologized for this error and any concern this may have caused for residents, families or staff.
Throughout the pandemic response, public health officials and ministry staff have worked to provide the most accurate and timely information we have available.
Sometimes we may clarify previous statements or update Albertans when new information becomes known.
We will continue to refine reporting to ensure information is accurate in my daily updates.
I welcome the ongoing opportunity to provide new information to Albertans to help them understand the impact of our collective pandemic response.
I would now like to provide an update on cases in Alberta.
In the last 24 hours, we have confirmed 64 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Alberta to 754.
This number of 754 includes 77 cases involving healthcare workers, including staff in continuing care facilities. The vast majority of these cases were returning travellers or participants at the bonspiel that I have previously talked about, not cases acquired while they were providing care.
We continue to refine reporting for healthcare workers and will report new information as it becomes available.
Sadly, I was just informed of an additional death reported in Calgary Zone at McKenzie Towne Long Term Care.
On behalf of all Albertans, I convey condolences to this individual’s family.
This is another tragic case of COVID-19 at its worst.
We suspect 75 of these cases are the result of community transmission. This is concerning.
Alberta Health is tracking outbreaks in three facilities at the moment – McKenize Towne Long Term Care, and Carewest Glenmore Park Centre both in Calgary and Shepherd’s Care Kensington in Edmonton Zone.
Updates on confirmed case numbers of these outbreaks will be provided tomorrow to ensure we have the most accurate information available.
These outbreaks remain worrisome.
We know seniors and those with chronic health conditions are at greatest risk of severe illness related to COVID-19.
We must all continue to do our part and follow the public health orders that are in place to save lives.
Following the public health orders though, does not mean we can’t continue to support each other or to help the most vulnerable.
Albertans are known for this generosity.
Organizations like Alberta Food Banks and Meals on Wheels still need Albertans’ support.
I encourage healthy Albertans to give of their time where possible and with proper attention to physical distancing and hygiene requirements.
Albertans can also help by donating blood through Canadian Blood Services. I understand that donations have declined and we still need blood to help Albertans who are suffering through other health conditions. Canadian Blood Services has taken safety measures to ensure that their staff and their donors are protected at this time.
We are all in this together and now more than ever, kindness matters.
In the coming days, we will be putting together some guidance on how community organizations and not-for-profits can continue to work while keeping their staff, volunteers and communities safe.
Even if you are not able to volunteer, there are things you can do to help others get through this.
Reach out to friends, family and neighbours who may be struggling.
Even small gestures can go a long way.
Last night, I read about someone who was out on their balcony shedding a few tears and a neighbour from another balcony overheard and called out “It is going to be okay. I promise.”
Or how a Calgary flower shop, despite having to close, donated flowers to help brighten the day for residents and employees of a continuing care facility.
Or a wardrobe department of a filming company that was sewing hospital gowns in Calgary.
Everyday, I’m overwhelmed by the compassion and generosity shown by Albertans.
These small acts of kindness are making things a little bit brighter during these difficult times.
During this time of necessary physical distancing and self-isolation, it is important that we still stay socially connected.
Last week, I joined Premier Kenney for a telephone town hall with religious and faith leaders in the province.
This provided an opportunity for discussion about the many religious commemorations just around the corner.
Several leaders shared their own ideas on innovative ways to deliver services, such as through webcasts, teleconferencing, texting and social media.
All demonstrated an understanding of mass gathering restrictions and a willingness to reach their faith communities to offer ongoing support and fellowship.
One central Alberta church has decided to offer Easter services as a drive-in where families listen to the service from the safety and comfort of their own cars.
We must continue to find new ways…innovative ways…to connect with one another, while being physically separated.
This is true for families and friends who are planning to celebrate upcoming religious holidays such as Easter, Passover and Ramadan.
Albertans should be planning to celebrate virtually, not having large gatherings, and even avoiding smaller gatherings outside of their immediate household.
The aggressive public health measures we’ve put in place are critical to protect the health of Albertans.
We are all in this together, and each of us must do everything we can to flatten the curve and keep Albertans healthy.
Thank you. I will now take questions.