COVID-19 testing has been extended to anyone in Alberta, even if they have not experienced symptoms.
“We have the capacity to do more, and in preparation of Stage 2 of our relaunch, now is an opportune time to expand testing to get a full understanding of the presence of COVID-19 in our population,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
“This will help provide data to further understand the impacts of moving to Stage 2 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy.
“Expanded testing might also help us understand where there might be undetected positive cases, and therefore, prevent further spread of the virus.”
The province’s daily volume of testing has ranged from 2,000 to 4,000 people per day over the past couple of weeks, said Hinshaw.
Anyone who is worried they were exposed to COVID-19, even if they are feeling well and aren’t showing symptoms, is encouraged to book an appointment online.
“Everyone who wants a test will be able to access one, but priority will continue to be given to symptomatic individuals and close contacts of known COVID cases,” Hinshaw said.
The latest COVID-19 statistics were announced during a provincial government update Friday afternoon.
There are 22 new confirmed cases of the virus. Of the total confirmed cases, 612 are active, 6,218 have recovered and 143 have died.
Fifty-five people are currently hospitalized due to the virus – four of those individuals have been admitted into an intensive care unit. No new deaths were reported Friday.
The city of Red Deer remains at one active and 36 recovered cases, while Red Deer County has one active and 15 recovered.
The City of Lacombe, Clearwater County and Stettler County have two recovered cases each.
Lacombe County and Ponoka County both have three recovered cases. Mountain View County has nine recovered cases.
Hinshaw said organized sports events, games and leagues present a high risk of transmission and are not permitted in Stage 1 of the government’s relaunch.
“Non-contact outdoor activities can proceed with measures in place to limit the risk of transmission. Examples of such activities are running in physically distanced groups, singles tennis or badminton, or skateboarding,” said Hinshaw.
“Activities like soccer, football or martial arts are not permitted in Stage 1, unless organizers can modify practising the components of these activities to meet public health orders and physical distancing requirements, such as a focus on individual drills rather than team play.”