There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo by The Associated Press)

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo by The Associated Press)

Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

The Alberta government reported another 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

According to the government’s website, there are now 4,793 active cases of the virus in the province. There were also four additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 313.

The province completed more than 10,000 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours, and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been 26,565 cases of the virus, with 21,459 recoveries.

The central zone dropped to 160 active cases, down five from the previous day.

Red Deer is down to 34 active cases, three less than Tuesday’s total. Lacombe County sits at six active cases and Lacombe has two active cases. Rocky Mountain House has four active cases, while Sylvan Lake has one active case.

There were six active cases in Kneehill County, one in the Town of Drumheller and five in the City of Camrose.

Ponoka County (East) has seven active cases.

The City of Wetaskiwin had 11 active cases.

There were no active cases in the County of Stettler, Mountain View County and Starland County.

Wednesday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, posted a lengthy article on the government website explaining the finer points of herd immunity and the Great Barrington Declaration.

In the declaration, the authors discuss allowing people who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally, in order to build up immunity from the virus through natural infection, while forcing people who are at a higher risk to isolate.

“This is a very appealing statement to those who are tired of restrictions and in a context where the economic and social impacts of the restrictions are being felt keenly by those under 60, (‘retirement age’ is the cut off proposed in the Barrington document) who are at lower risk of severe outcomes,” wrote Hinshaw in the piece.

Hinshaw pointed to a number of reasons why herd immunity is still not the best approach for Alberta. First off, she states that how long immunity lasts for COVID-19 is still up for debate in the scientific community, because there hasn’t been enough time to properly study the effects.

Secondly, there would be a large increase in deaths. According to Alberta’s numbers, she said that infecting 50 per cent of those under 60 would cost approximately 1,000 lives in that same younger population.

She added that hospitalizations will also increase and we don’t yet have a full understanding of the long-term health consequences of COVID-19.

Hinshaw does acknowledge one aspect of the declaration that is notable, in relation to the consequences of lockdowns.

“The Barrington document implies that ‘lockdown’ is binary – all or none, and that no restrictions should be in place for the young. This is a false dichotomy,” she wrote.

“The best way to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19 is to prevent large spreading events, quickly identify cases, trace and isolate contacts, and keep the spread of the virus to a manageable level.”