CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced three new deaths related to COVID-19 for a total of 138 on Monday.
“These deaths are a reminder of the worst-case scenario outcome from this virus and why we need to continue to take this seriously,” Dr. Hinshaw said.
The province recorded 19 new cases after 3,010 Albertans were tested in the past 24 hours.
Alberta’s COVID-19 update underway. Three additional deaths recorded.
19 new cases found. 762 active cases.
— Jeff Slack (@Jeffslack660) May 25, 2020
There are currently 762 active cases of the virus, 45 hospitalizations, five of those admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.
On Monday, a total of 5,979 Albertans had recovered.
Since Alberta initiated its first phase of their relaunch plan Hinshaw called the low number of new cases and decline in active cases ‘encouraging.’
“I think this should be taken as an excellent sign and a sign of what we can accomplish together when we continue to follow public health measures,” Hinshaw said.
An earlier start date for stage two of Alberta’s relaunch strategy could be considered if case numbers continue to decline, Hinshaw said.
“We may be able to consider alternate dates if our numbers remain good.”
Public health officials will be monitoring Calgary and Brooks closely as both areas were able to reopen restaurants and hair salons as of Monday.
The province also announced new ways of distributing personal protective equipment (PPE), prioritizing those at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19.
“The province will continue to ensure publicly funded or contracted settings have PPE at no extra cost. This includes Alberta Health services and covenant health care workers, first responders and those working in homeless shelters and publicly-funded or contracted senior care facilities,” Hinshaw said.
“For those who don’t have other sources in the short-term, private organizations can continue to access PPE through the government until June 30, but will need to pay a fair market price.”
After that date PPE will need to be acquired through their own suppliers.
Hinshaw says the private sector will have to pay for PPE provided by the province.
AND- they will need to do so independently of the province after June 30.
— Courtney Theriault (@cspotweet) May 25, 2020
Hinshaw added N95 masks will be provided at a fee to dentists for emergency procedures and morticians for embalming procedures for the duration of global N95 shortages.
Hinshaw also addressed the fear of running out of PPE saying we are not running low on the equipment.
“However, as we continue to move forward with relaunch it’s important to have a long-term plan. That said, this approach will be flexible. If there is an emergency short-term issue, such as a threat to food security, an organization can request PPE through the government and such requests would be considered on a case-by-case assessment through the provincial operations centre,” Hinshaw said.
This announcement doesn’t change Premier Jason Kenney’s promise to distribute non-medical masks to the public with more information on this coming soon, Hinshaw added.