Five new COVID-19 cases found in Wood Buffalo, all other Rotary House residents test negative

The Rotary House Seniors Lodge in downtown Fort McMurray on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Laura Beamish/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

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There are three new active COVID-19 cases in Wood Buffalo’s rural areas, bringing the total number of active cases outside Fort McMurray to eight.

There has also been one new recovery in the rural hamlets, bringing total recovered cases to 14.

Alberta Health Services has not identified which rural communities have active cases.

There are two new COVID-19 cases in Fort McMurray, bringing the total active cases to 20. Currently there have been 31 recoveries in the city.

There is still only one active COVID-19 case at the Rotary House Seniors Lodge in downtown Fort McMurray.

According to AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson, all other residents and staff have tested negative for the virus.

Residents were tested last Thursday, with results returned on Monday and Tuesday.

Williamson said residents at continuing care sites are given priority testing, but samples had to travel from Fort McMurray to Edmonton.

“The testing of residents is in addition to outbreak protocols that were immediately put in place when AHS was notified of a positive case,” said Williamson in an email. “These protocols are designed to minimize any spread of COVID-19. Those protocols are in place regardless of further test results.”

Rotary House Lodge will continue to be monitored by AHS. Additional supports will be provided if needed.

Earlier this week, the Medicine Shoppe in Eagle Ridge announced they would be part of the province’s pilot program that allows pharmacists to test asymptomatic people.

Across Alberta there are 41 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the active case total to 549.

There has been a total of 8,108 COVID-19 cases across the province. Of these, there have been 7,405 recoveries. This represents more than 91 per cent of all cases.

Currently, there are 41 hospitalizations across Alberta, with nine cases in intensive care units. There have been no new deaths, keeping the provincial death toll at 154.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that gatherings for outdoor audience-type events, such as watching fireworks or outdoor performances, have expanded to 200.

“We believe that if organizers and attendees take appropriate measures, including distancing between households and cohorts, it is possible to conduct these events safely,” she said. “However, more people does not mean less care.”

Remaining two metres apart, wearing a mask when physical distancing isn’t possible and staying home when you are sick should all still be maintained, she said.

Private events, such as weddings are still limited to 100 people, while indoor gatherings are limited to 50.

With people getting ready to celebrate Canada Day, Hinshaw encouraged finding creative ways to celebrate.

“COVID-19 will not take a break because it is a holiday,” she said. “We must all continue to take proper precautions.”

The next COVID-19 update from the province will be on Thursday, July 2.