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Province not in second wave of pandemic says infectious disease expert

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. According to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases in Alberta, one infectious disease expert doesn’t believe the province is in a second wave.

On Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported 276 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of active cases to 1,900.

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“That’s potentially both good and bad. It tells us that we can still do things to prevent that second wave from coming,” said Dr. Craig Jenne with the University of Calgary.

He admits other parts of the country like Ontario and Quebec are experiencing a second wave and numbers would need to mirror those provinces before Alberta makes the same declaration.

“For the most part, other than these momentary hiccups, we’re stabilizing and I think that’s the critical difference. We’re not seeing that exponential growth. Unfortunately, Edmonton is growing and we need to make sure that gets back under control before that starts to have a broader effect.”

Ontario reported 548 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday while Quebec recorded more than 1,000 cases for the fifth consecutive day.

Dr. Jenne said while numbers in Alberta are trending in the wrong direction, he wouldn’t say we’re in a second wave until we start seeing big week-over-week increases.

“I think that’s more of our classic second wave and that’s not what we’re seeing in Alberta, we’re seeing a slow increase and some people refer to that as a slow burn.”

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Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the next wave of the pandemic was already underway in Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec and that the country is heading in the wrong direction.

However, Hinshaw disagreed with those statements.

“The concept of a second wave implies that we don’t have any control or influence over the circulation of the virus,” Hinshaw said.

“I think that certainly there are some provinces who have themselves determined that they are beginning what they’re calling a second wave. But in Alberta, I don’t think that’s where we’re at right now.”