Article content continued
“It supports all the other evidence we’ve seen suggesting the school model in place is protective against in-school transmission,” she said.
“Instead, it seems it is mainly all the other in-person activities students take that is exposing them to the virus.”
Meanwhile, health-care officials are continuing to battle a COVID-19 outbreak among emergency department staff at the Peter Lougheed Hospital.
So far, 18 staff members at the northeast hospital along with two patients have tested positive for the disease in an outbreak that was declared Dec. 19.
“The emergency department at the PLC remains open and continues to be a safe and appropriate place to receive urgent and emergency care,” said a statement from Alberta Health Services.
All AHS facilities, including the Peter Lougheed Centre, follow rigorous infection prevention and control standards
There are also outbreaks at the South Health Campus and Rockyview General Hospital, and all hospitals in the Calgary area are subject to surge capacity measures due to the pandemic, said AHS.
“However, the PLC emergency department outbreak has not prompted any changes related to health-care services at the site.”
Hinshaw said she’s confident the outbreak is being handled competently.
One Calgary physician said the outbreak is a concerning reminder of the challenges facing Alberta hospitals where the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise at a rapid clip — 19 more admissions in the past day.
And the doctor said he’s nervous about the province lifting restrictions too early by basing them on political rather than medical considerations.
“What kind of criteria are they going to use for the relaxation of restrictions, and if it’s too early, how long before the situation goes right back to where we started?” said the physician, who chose to remain anonymous.
But he said the exemption for singles’ visits over the holidays is low-risk compared to church attendance and restaurant and pubs offering on-site service.