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Coronavirus daily briefing – April 9: New building, no golf, good flu news

Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Centre will have a new, temporary structure to house as many as 100 care spaces for patients infected with coronavirus.

In Thursday’s briefing, the province announced that it added 28 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the Alberta total to 1,451. Three more people have died, raising the provincial total to 32.

Of the 1,451 cases, it’s suspected that 192 are community acquired.

The important part: 592 people are confirmed recovered.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro started Thursday’s briefing with the announcement about the new Sprung Structures donation.

The High River-based company is providing a temporary structure that will sit at the Peter Lougheed Centre in northeast Calgary and offer 6,000 square feet of treatment space that holds 100 beds for patients.

The cost of the structure is $235,000. According to Minister Shandro, AHS will be spending $3 million to get the location up to snuff for patients.

“This donation to AHS and the people of Alberta will significantly expand capacity and, ultimately, help save lives,” said Shandro.

Easter weekend, family gatherings

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said that Albertans need to be vigilant this upcoming holiday weekend.

“To protect ourselves, our family, and those in our community we must remain physically apart,” she said.

Dr. Hinshaw referenced the different religious holidays and their importance this weekend.

For those wanting to attend the different drive by ceremonies being offered by religious locations, she said you must stick to the people from your home. Don’t pick other people up from other households.

“I also remind leaders and members of communities planning innovative services such as these, that you are responsible for each other. And please be sure that no one leaves the vehicle during these times,” she said.

She reminded Albertans that the virus can be spread very easily; a serving spoon, a kiss to the cheek, or droplets of breath from someone singing, chanting or laughing.

“This year, I ask you to look at other ways you can celebrate the holidays,” she said.

Golf courses – you’re not essential

Much to the chagrin of many looking for a spring respite, Dr. Hinshaw said that golf courses are not considered essential services and are should not be open to the public.

Golf courses in Alberta can open their doors to staff to begin preparations for the courses, with appropriate safety measures, but they can’t open their doors.

Dr. Hinshaw said they are going to put out guidance for Alberta golf courses on their opening, but that they can’t open until the situation changes.

Good signs that we’re getting the upper hand

Dr. Hinshaw said that recent influenza tallies show that maybe we’re getting the upper hand on the coronavirus.

She said that Alberta has seen a reduction in seasonal influenza cases. Typically, there is a gradual decline in these cases, said Dr. Hinshaw.

Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been a steep decline in these cases, she said.

“There are some early signs that we are making a difference,” she said.

“This is a promising sign that our measures are working that we cannot lose sight of our goal.”