Today’s COVID-19 update from the province began with questions posed to the government from people who live alone. Dr. Deena Hinshaw gave clarifications to people who live alone about their close contacts.

“I recognize the impacts that isolation may have on both emotional and mental health,” she said. “The two contacts you choose do not need to be from the same household, they also do not need to be living on their own.”

“I know it can be challenging to choose only two people, so I would like to thank Albertans in this situation for being flexible and doing their part to bend the curve,” said Hinshaw.

In Strathmore, there are now 35 active COVID-19 cases, and there are seven in Wheatland County. In total there are 1,735 new cases in the province in the last 24 hours with 609 people in hospitals and 20,067 total active cases. There are 108 people in ICUs and 16 deaths related to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

The briefing revealed that this week Alberta will begin point of care rapid testing and receive vaccines from the Federal Government.

The point of care testing will be at select sites which includes Slave Lake, St. Paul, Edmonton, and Calgary. The tests will also offer faster identification of positive cases, but Hinshaw explained, “In those without symptoms the rapid tests are less accurate.” Notification to positive patients will be done in just a few hours.

Hinshaw spoke about the steady rise of COVID-19 cases in the province. “So far we are not bending the curve back down. We are still witnessing very high transmission of the virus which is putting enormous pressure on our hospitals, intensive care units, and health care workers,” she informed.

“We are now in the ninth month of this pandemic. I am more concerned than ever before about the spread of this virus,” Hinshaw spoke.

Alberta is working to prepare for vaccines. The Chief Medical Officer of Health said that there is one receiving site in Calgary and one in Edmonton for the vaccine so far. The vaccine must be given at the same site that the delivery is at. The province is now waiting for the details of the shipments from the Federal Government.