Live at 3:30 p.m.: Province to provide an update on COVID-19 pandemic response

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw gives a COVID-19 update from Edmonton on May 14, 2020.

After another weekend without updated COVID-19 statistics from Alberta Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, will be providing an update on the province’s pandemic response on Monday afternoon.

The latest update on Friday showed that the

Calgary zone’s case count was spiking

. Eighty-nine of the 158 new cases reported Friday were in the Calgary zone, which was a recent single-day high. This was the second-largest spike in COVID-19 cases in the region since May 2.

The new cases came from just under 11,000 tests. About 1.4 per cent of tests reported Friday returned positive, a rate on the high end of those Alberta has recorded over the past two weeks.

On Sunday, Hinshaw encouraged Albertans to wear masks when they are unable to maintain two-metre distance from others.

“Masks are most effective when they are correctly put on, worn and taken off,” Hinshaw posted on Twitter.

No new deaths from COVID-19 were reported Friday, leaving Alberta’s death count from the virus at 237. As of Friday, there were 44 Albertans in hospital with the coronavirus, seven of whom were in intensive-care units — a decrease in total hospitalizations from Thursday.

Also Friday, Alberta reported that a coronavirus outbreak at the Harmony Beef meat-processing plant had flared back up after previous cases at the same facility in March and May. Thirty-eight workers at the plant, just north of Calgary in Balzac, have tested positive for COVID-19 during this new outbreak.

Over a week ago, Hinshaw announced that all Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart

pharmacies in the province would be providing asymptomatic testing

by Sept. 1. This increase in testing availability was meant to help teachers and school staff get tested before the start of the school year.

Hinshaw clarified on Twitter that pharmacies can only test people who have no COVID-19 symptoms and no known exposure.

“If you have symptoms or known exposure, you must arrange for testing through Alberta Health Services,” posted Hinshaw.

“As the first day of school nears, I continue to encourage teachers and school staff to be tested for COVID-19. Thank you to those who have already done so, and thank you to all Albertans who have postponed asymptomatic testing.”

On Monday, it was announced that Beakerhead’s September Festival and Spectacle would be postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic.

“The Beakerhead team remains hard at work in the lab and we hope to share some new smash-ups with you in the coming months,” said the post on Twitter.

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With files from Jason Herring 

[email protected]

Twitter:

@BabychStephanie

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