Over 10% Of Alberta's Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Are Health Care Workers
Alberta has well over 700 cases as of now.
Working in health care sure doesn't make you immune to illness. On Tuesday, March 31, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced that 77 health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Alberta. The province has recorded 754 cases of the disease so far, and health care workers make up over 10% of the total.
Dr. Hinshaw delivered the news in her daily press briefing, saying the vast majority of the health care workers that have been infected are returning travellers or participants in the curling tournament that took place in Edmonton between March 11 and March 14.
The health care workers also include staff in continuing care facilities.
Dr. Hinshaw added that most of the cases were not acquired while the health care workers were providing care to patients carrying COVID-19.
The province is still working to break down each of the cases involving health care workers. The officials did not provide any information about the individuals' locations or professions.
Dr. Mark Joffe, the Vice-President of Alberta Health Services, said, "Colleagues of mine, some who I know, others I haven't met, have become infected. This is very concerning."
He continued to say that as a health care community, they have all become what feels like a big family.
He added that at this point, the province has significant medical staff planning underway. Contingency planning is being put in place so there is extra capacity to cover for anyone unable to work.
The current number of infected health care workers does not pose a pressing issue at the moment for Joffe, especially as most acquired the disease through travel or community gatherings.
But the province is monitoring the situation closely, in case more needs to be done to provide extensive care to these workers.
"Overall, I would say that we are a resilient workforce. We're flexible, we're used to adapting, and we will continue to do so," he explained.
So far, we've already seen physicians and nurses speaking out about the pandemic.
The United Nurses of Alberta has already urged the government to provide personal protective gear for the nurses working at the frontlines. As of now, over 30 nurses areuntil they're given N95 masks.
Albertan doctors and physicians have alsoto the provincial government to hold back on pay reductions in light of the current public health crisis.
CBC News explained that the Alberta government has begun to screen all health care workers before their shift. The screening procedures include taking their temperatures and filling out a questionnaire.
Dr. Hinshaw also revealed to the public that 74 cases in the province were the result of community transmission, which means that they were not contracted through travel or close contact with an existing individual with COVID-19.
She also notified the public thatin the province as a result of the disease, although 126 individuals are said to have made a full recovery.