The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continues to grow.
There are now 683 active cases in the city, which is 49 more than Sunday, according to geospatial mapping on the provincial government’s website.
This is a record high number of active cases for Red Deer.
On Saturday, with 615 active cases, the city broke the previous record of 574, which was set earlier this year.
An additional 1,495 new cases were identified across Alberta Monday. Provincially, there are now 20,610 active cases of the virus, to go along with the 160,617 recovered cases.
“We did predict that we would probably hit 20,000 active cases this week, about three weeks back when we announced those additional measures,” Premier Jason Kenney said during a press conference Monday.
“We have seen a decline in the rate of growth, which is good news, but we have to bend that curve down further … so we start to see the number of daily new cases and total active cases begin to come down to relieve the pending pressure from our health-care system.”
When looking at the province’s mapping for COVID-19 cases on the municipality setting, regions are defined by metropolitan areas, cities, urban service areas, rural areas and towns with approximately 10,000 or more people; smaller regions are incorporated into the corresponding rural area.
With that setting, Red Deer County has 163 active cases, Lacombe County has 109, the City of Lacombe has 136, Olds has 112, Sylvan Lake has 87, Mountain View County has 90, Clearwater County has 67 and Stettler County has 32.
The City of Camrose has 153 active cases, Camrose County has 75, Kneehill County has 43, Starland County has seven and Drumheller has 20.
On the local geographic area setting, Wetaskiwin County, including Maskwacis, has 184 active cases, Ponoka, including East Ponoka County, has 114 and Rimbey, which includes West Ponoka County and parts of Lacombe County, has 30.
Overall, the Central zone has 2,341 active cases.
Currently, 616 Albertans are hospitalized by COVID-19, with 145 of those individuals in intensive care. Fifty-seven people have been hospitalized in the Central zone, with seven in intensive care.
On Monday, the provincial government announced it will begin easing restrictions at long-term and continuing care facilities throughout the province.
Kenney said the government has heard from families and residents asking for a change to the current level of restrictions.
“Nearly all continuing care residents and the majority of staff are now vaccinated with a double-dose administered more than two weeks ago, which dramatically reduces their chance of infection and serious illness from COVID-19,” he said.
As of Sunday, more than 1.4 million doses have been administered in Alberta.
Starting May 10, the number of designated support persons for continuing care residents will be increased from two to four. Facilities will also be allowed to have small indoor and larger outdoor visitations, if the majority of residents agree.
“We’re not getting rid of all restrictions at continuing care facilities. There will continue to be limits on who can visit and how many, and strong outbreak protocols will remain in place,” said Kenney.