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Coronavirus daily briefing – April 3: No in-person visits at hospital, health care worker harrassment

Five more people have died in Alberta due to coronavirus, including four at a southeast Calgary long term care centre.

Eighteen Albertans have now died due to COVID-19, with 11 of the deaths being in the Calgary zone, and eight total at the McKenzie Towne long term care centre.

More than 60,000 tests have been done and Dr. Hinshaw said that the recent increase in daily cases is likely due to a continuing backlog of tests they are catching up on. There were 107 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, with 39 people now in hospital and 15 people in intensive care.

The total number of cases in Alberta sits at 1075. Now, 196 people have recovered.

“There are many grieving families in our province today, and I extend my sincere condolences to each and every one of (the families) and all the loved ones of those we have lost,” said Dr. Hinshaw.

“We can honour these people by recommitting to physical distancing and staying home whenever possible.”

Over the 1075 cases, 137 are suspected of being through community transmission, Dr. Hinshaw said. While more cases in this group have been acquired, she said it appears they’re remaining under control.

“Every one of these cases is concerning and we follow up with every case to ensure that we are limiting spread. However, it does not seem at this moment that we are seeing a rapid rise in local transmission,” she said.

Health care workers, one-person visits

Dr. Hinshaw said she’s heard disturbing reports of some health care workers facing discrimination over fears they will spread the virus to others.  One threat included a possible eviction, she said.

“The practices many of us are still adjusting to, including proper hand washing and other preventive measures, have always been part of healthcare professionals’ daily lives,” she said.

“Instead of being afraid we should continue to work together and be prepared to prevent the spread, stay informed and flatten the curve.”

Additional measures are being put in place to limit hospital visits. As of Friday, patients in hospital will no longer be allowed to have in-person visits. Dr. Hinshaw said you’ll have to plan for virtual visits instead.

The decision was made to limit the risk of spread in a population of people who are already sick.

Exceptions will be made, however.

“Children who are admitted to hospital, typically having a parent nearby, or guardian, is something that is extremely helpful,” she said.

“And so there will be some exceptions on a case-by-case basis for some of those situations.”

Visitors will still have a screening check prior to entering.