Several young Albertans have now been hospitalized with more severe reactions to COVID-19, prompting Dr. Deena Hinshaw to caution against vaping and smoking.
With three people under the age of 19 reportedly in intensive care with the virus, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health was asked Monday whether anything has been learned about why some young people are reacting badly to the virus.
Hinshaw said she couldn’t comment on the current cases because of confidentiality, but she added some younger patients without pre-existing health conditions have had severe reactions to the virus after smoking or vaping.
She believes the pandemic is a good reason to cut down or quit smoking or vaping, and encouraged those interested to get help through the Alberta Healthlink line.
As it happens, three HealthLink staffers were among Alberta’s 258 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday. Four more deaths were reported.
Hinshaw said the department is currently doing contact tracing to discover how the workers became infected.
In her daily update Monday, Hinshaw said provincial cases of the coronavirus rose by 83 on Friday, 106 on Saturday and 69 on Sunday.
In the central zone, there are now 26 active cases out of 569 confirmed cases. Two people remain in hospital, and there have been seven deaths in total, although none on the weekend.
Hinshaw said Alberta now has 1,172 active cases of COVID-19.
The City of Red Deer continues to have eight active cases, while Red Deer County has one case.
The County of Mountain View has two cases, Lacombe County has four, and the County of Stettler has three. Kneehill County has one. Ponoka County and Clearwater County have no viral cases. The Town of Sylvan Lake has no active cases, while Red Deer County currently has one case.
Hinshaw said many of the new cases have been linked to hospitals, care homes and churches in Edmonton and Calgary.
She cautioned Albertans not to target staff or management of these facilities, as it could hamper the transparent reporting of such cases in future and drive some people not to report illnesses. She stressed that the management of these facilities is working closely with public health workers to prevent further spread of the virus.