Why has Calgary been harder hit than Edmonton?

There are many reasons, including international travel, COVID-19 clusters and increased testing.

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Calgary are significantly higher than in other parts of the province. As of May 11, there were 6,300 total cases in Alberta, with 4,278 of those in Calgary. 

Dr. Craig Jenne, an infectious disease specialist from the University of Calgary, told Global News there are many reasons for the discrepancy, including international travel, COVID-19 clusters and increased testing. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Calgary International Airport was very busy, which could have contributed to bringing cases into the community, said Jenne. 

In addition, Calgary's McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre quickly became Alberta’s worst outbreak at a care home.

The high number of cases could also be partially attributed to fewer people following social distancing rules. 

“We often don’t want to admit it but maybe there is a bit of a social distancing problem in Calgary where people are taking the guidelines more loosely and not following them as strict as in other communities,” Jenne said. 

“One or two early cases in Calgary have probably spread [and have] led now to several dozen additional cases, seeing as each person can infect multiple people and each of those people in subsequent weeks can infect further people.”

There is also increased testing occurring in Calgary. In Edmonton, 29% of the population has been tested, compared to 45% of Calgarians.  

“We’re testing more patients, which means we’re going to have more positive results. More testing just means a more complete picture and not necessarily related to viral spread,” Jenne said.

Published By:
Emily Rendell-Watson

Emily Rendell-Watson

Monday, May 11, 2020

by Karen Unland




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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, see edmonton.ca/covid19, alberta.ca/covid19, canada.ca/covid19, and the World Health Organization.