Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, provides an update, in Edmonton on Monday, March 30, 2020, on COVID-19 and the ongoing work to protect public health. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, provides an update, in Edmonton on Monday, March 30, 2020, on COVID-19 and the ongoing work to protect public health. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Alberta confirms 117 new COVID-19 cases, province total 871

Two deaths declared Wednesday

COVID-19-related cases in Red Deer was up by three Wednesday reaching 23.

Alberta government declared 117 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total to 871.

The high number of cases was as a result of a backlog caused by a delayed shipment over the weekend of reagent, a chemical used in the tests, officials said.

Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said “Albertans should be concerned and I am concerned.”

“And that’s not because of today’s number, it’s because we’re seeing that two per cent positive rate in our tests over the last several days.”

More than 4,500 Albertans were tested between Tuesday and Wednesday and 98 per cent of the tests were negative, said Hinshaw.

The province confirmed two additional deaths, bringing the total deaths to eleven.

In Red Deer cases were up by three within 24 hours. That has happened two days in a row: Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

In Red Deer County, total cases reached eight, an increase of one case.

Central zone cases reached 57 Wednesday. The highest number of cases of COVID-19 is in the Calgary zone, at 527, followed by the Edmonton zone at 279. There are 51 and 12 cases in the north and south zones, respectively.

The province declared two additional dealths in the Calgary and Edmonton zones, bringing COVID-19-related deaths to 11. The deaths are: six in the Calgary zone, three in the Edmonton zone, and two in the north zone.

Hinshaw said the province believes 94 cases are as a result of community transmission – an increase of 24.

Of the total cases cases, there are 29 people in hospital, with 13 admitted to intensive care units (ICU). In total, there have been 62 hospitalizations, with 20 admissions to ICUs.

Premier Jason Kenney said the hard truth is that “things will get worse before they get better.”

The number of recovered cases in Alberta reached 142 – over 16 per cent of total infections, said Kenney, commending the work front line workers are putting in every day.

To keep things going in the province he focused on truck drivers and child care.

He said the same about truck drivers who are on the road carrying essential products: agricultural products, medical equipment and other daily essentials that Albertans use every day.

He noted due to COVID-19 many restaurants have been shut down or have switched to drive-thru or operations. But truck drivers can’t always access those lanes.

“It limits their access to washrooms as well,” Premier said, noting they’re on the road for long hours, away from their homes.

Kenney called upon restaurants to let truck drivers walk up to the drive-thru window to place their order and allow them to use washrooms.

The provincial government is also expanding eligibility for select licensed child care centres to provide child care for all essential service workers. In addition to the previously eligible front-line health-care workers, critical infrastructure workers and first responders, child care is now available to anyone who works in the critical areas outlined as essential by government.

Child care centres have reopened in Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and other parts of the province. Overall, these centres are at eight per cent of their allotted capacity, so there is room to expand eligibility.

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