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Friday marked one year of COVID-19 in Alberta

“Despite the changes, challenges and losses we have encountered, we have proven just how resilient Albertans are.”
Jason Kenney
Premier Jason Kenney declared COVID-19 a public health emergency on March 17, 2020. GOVERNMENT OF ALBERT PHOTO

Alberta's top doctor says the province is in a very different place than it was on March 5, 2020, the day the COVID-19 virus was first detected here.

Friday marked a full year since the province reported its first case of COVID-19.

“Together we have navigated the uncertainty of COVID-19 and living in a global pandemic,” Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

“Despite the changes, challenges and losses we have encountered, we have proven just how resilient Albertans are.”

Last March, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the virus would pose a public safety threat for at least a few months. Since the virus arrived in Alberta, there have been a total of 134,785 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the province with 128,261 people recovering. The province has recored 1,911 deaths attributed to the virus in the past year.

Although March 5 marks the one-year anniversary, the province did retroactive testing for the virus and eventually discovered the first case arrived in the province Feb. 24, 2020.

After the arrival of the virus, cases linked to travel began to pile up. The province quickly started to implement health restrictions.

By March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

By March 12, 2020, Alberta's first COVID-19 health issues were ordered, cancelling all large gatherings of more than 250 province-wide.

On March 15, 2020, the province cancelled school and daycare for thousands of students across the province and declared all students would move to online learning.

A state of public health emergency was declared March 17, 2020. A second state of public health emergency was declared by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on Nov. 24, which expired Feb. 22.

On March 19, 2020, the province reported its first COVID-19 related death, a man in his 60s living in the Edmonton zone. The man contracted the virus in the community and was admitted to the hospital on March 12

Near the end of the month, on March 27, 2020, further restrictions came into place as non-essential businesses were closed and gatherings were limited to 15 people.

Since March 2020, the world has tackled COVID-19 head-on and produced several vaccines, four of which have now been approved for use in Canada. On Friday, Health Canada approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use within the country.

“Our fight isn't over with COVID-19, because it is still very much in our communities, but we are so much closer to returning to a more normal way of life than we were a year ago, or even a few weeks back,” Hinshaw said.

“We are in a very different place than we were in one year ago. We know much more about how the virus spreads, we have a much greater testing and contact tracing capacity. And most importantly, we have several good vaccine options that are bringing us closer to being able to successfully take away COVID-19's ability to spread widely.”