Washington, Alberta and BC – Covid-19 among neighbours

    Calgary condo where outbreak of Covid-19 has infected 32 from surface touching

    Vancouver – Alberta is dealing with a curious case of an outbreak of Covid-19 in a high-rise building with 32 tenants infected and isolated with three of them in hospital.

    In our other neighbourhood, Washington State residents have begun wearing masks as part of a mandatory order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee. Washington suffered 4 more deaths on Friday with the death toll going up to 1,304.

    Most of the time aerosol from from a persons’s cough or sneeze or forceful expulsion of air from the mouth is the route of transmission of the Sars-Cov-2 virus. However, health authorities suspect touching a virus deposit on a common surface may have resulted in the significant outbreak.

    Authorities said a high-touch surface such as an elevator button of door handles and knobs can infect people and this is possibly the route the outbreak took. The virus is viable on some surfaces for several hours according to some US studies.

    Dr. Deena Hinshaw mentioned the outbreak during her daily press briefing, suggesting that many of those who are now actively infected are younger people.

    Alberta has entered a more open phase of restrictions but tests more widely than most jurisdiction in the world. As well, unlike BC which has some of the lowest testing figures and therefore low rate of infection, any Albertan who wants a test can get it.

    Residents who have been ordered to isolate can’t use the elevator or common areas but can come out to their balconies if separated from their neighbour.

    Like most Canadian provinces Alberta has done well during the pandemic. It has 154 deaths compared to BC’s 174, an ever- hospitalized rate of 359 compared to BC’s 524 total admissions during the pandemic. BC has far fewer in hospital at this time and a lower number of active cases. 17 remain in hospital, with 5 of those in ICU. Only 159 cases remain active.

    Alberta tested 5529 people to discover 38 new cases. It has 509 active cases because of a recent surge and 37 in hospital with 8 of those in ICU. Alberta has allowed pharmacies to carry out testing on anyone who wants one, with priority testing for care workers, which is sorely needed as staff are suspected of transmitting the virus to care homes in BC where there are 51 infections in senior facilities and acute care institutions.

    So far Alberta has carried out 422,351 tests. BC, with a bigger population has tested 187,748. Per million population, BC has tested 31,578 as opposed to the Canadian rate 0f 69.122 per million. Testing less results in finding fewer cases and allows spread to occur undetected.

    Meanwhile, alarmed by a surge in number of new cases, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered public masking which took effect on Friday. 400 new cases with 88 added on because of a previous data error took Washington State’s count of total infections detected to 30,855. Washington is also testing at a high rate with 514,428 tests completed.

    4,194 are currently in hospital, and the death toll is 1,304. Like BC, Alberta and other US and Canadian jurisdictions care homes have been the hotbeds of infection in Washington State.

    State data shows 90 per cent of deaths have occurred in people 69 to 80+. 31% of deaths are in people aged 69 to 79 while 50 per cent are 80-plus.