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Hinshaw asks Albertans to be vigilant this long weekend

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Get out and enjoy the beautiful weather this long weekend, just don’t forget about public health orders.

That’s the message from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

During a COVID-19 update on Thursday, Dr. Hinshaw said after the last long weekend Alberta saw a rise in infections.

“We must keep in mind that after Canada Day, we saw several events that resulted in the spread of COVID-19 amongst friends and families. This is not the only reason our case numbers have risen but it has played a part.”

Hinshaw is encouraging you to continue following the public health orders which include frequent hand washing and physical distancing wherever you go this weekend.

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A similar message was brought to residents of B.C. as that province also saw a spike in cases after Canada Day.

B.C. Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry specifically pointed to parties in Kelowna which led to an increase in cases in the province’s interior.

Infectious disease expert with the University of Toronto, Dr. Isaac Bogosh said they won’t stop people from enjoying the weekend and that the best approach is a harm-reduction model.

“We certainly have to be responsible, especially over the course of this long weekend. Everyone wants to go and enjoy themselves, and I think they can, they can do so in a safe manner. You can still do that and have a good time.”

Bogosh added it’s unrealistic to tell people not to get together and have a good time, saying people are going to do it regardless.

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If you plan to hit the outdoors this weekend, Dr. Hinshaw asks you to be cautious.

“We just need to make a few adjustments to make sure we’re following public health guidance to the best of our ability. If you go camping or to the beach, please respect the health and safety of small communities along the way by planning trips with limited stops for gas or food.”

Heading into the August long weekend, Alberta currently has 1,408 active cases of COVID-19 with 91 people in hospital.

-With files from NEWS 1130