Dr. Hinshaw provided the COVID-19 update for Wednesday, February 17.
- The province saw 277 new cases in the past 24 hours for a positivity rate of 3.9%.
- There are active alerts in 260 schools which is approximately 11% of schools in the province.
- There are 370 people in the hospital with 60 of those in ICU.
- There were seven additional deaths in the past 24 hours to bring the total deaths in the province to 1,798.
- Cochrane has added one active case for a total of nine.
- Rocky View County has added two cases for a total of 35.
- Stoney Nakoda is reporting no new cases, four people have recovered and 21 active cases.
- To date,156,000 people have received the COVID vaccine and 52,500 Albertans have been fully immunized with two doses.
Dr. Hinshaw spoke about contact tracing and how it is fundamental in combating the spread of the COVID-19 virus. She says the majority of Albertans realize that contact tracing is a partnership between Albertans who have tested positive or been in contact with someone who has and with AHS. However, there is concern that there is an increase in the number of people who are not working with contact tracers.
"Unfortunately, recently, we have seen a small but significant increase in the number of people who aren’t participating in the contact tracing process. Up to December, less than 1% of our confirmed cases didn’t answer the phone or return calls from contact tracers. Since then, we’ve seen a concerning rise in those we can’t get a hold of – 1.9% of all cases in January and 1.34% so far in February. In addition to this, there has also been an increase in those who were initially willing to speak to contact tracers but then later unwilling to provide the necessary information needed for us to follow up with contacts. When this happens, public health follows up multiple times to try and obtain the details they need and sends written notice of information requirements under the public health act for those who still do not provide the necessary information. But this leaves gaps that COVID is happy to fill. I know that we are tired of this pandemic, and we all want to ease restrictions as soon as possible and get back to the lives we led a year ago. It may be tempting to think that not providing information will make COVID go away. Unfortunately, the opposite is true."