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Alberta child care facilities facing COVID-19 outbreak spike. Here’s why

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Wilson, Jacqueline
Publication Date: 
17 May 2021


Child care facilities across Alberta are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 outbreaks.

According to Alberta Health, 87 currently have an outbreak. Of those, more than half are in Calgary.

An outbreak is declared when five or more cases are linked to transmission within a business.

  • North Zone: 9
  • Edmonton Zone: 22
  • Central Zone: 6
  • Calgary Zone: 47
  • South Zone: 3

In terms of the Calgary outbreaks, here’s a breakdown of the data from Alberta Health.



Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Monday the spike in child care facility outbreaks can be linked to a number of factors, but the biggest contributor is COVID-19 variants.

“We have seen that variant cases, when introduced into child care facilities — particularly the P1 variant cases — when those are introduced, they can spread more easily than we have seen, even with the B.1.1.7 or other variant cases.”

The P1 variant was first identified in Brazil.

Hinshaw adds the increase could also be, in part, due to a lower threshold for reporting outbreaks and the close monitoring of these types of businesses.

One Calgary child-care director attributes the outbreak at her facility to asymptomatic infections.

“They’re coming in and they don’t have any symptoms, so it’s really hard for us to know where the COVID-19 is coming from,” said Jenni Van Iderstine, director of Early Discoveries.

Given the surge in cases, the province is investigating if any additional measures need to be taken to improve child care facility safety.