Cases from the Calgary-area E. coli outbreak look to be stabilizing, but the source is still unknown.

Premier Danielle Smith was joined by Health Minister Adriana LaGrange and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mark Joffe, among others, for another update on the outbreak this morning (Sept. 15).

Dr. Joffe provided the latest case numbers and said they appear to have stabilized.

Currently, 337 cases have been lab-confirmed, with 12 patients currently receiving care in hospital, 10 with hemolytic uremic syndrome and six receiving peritoneal dialysis.

He also revealed that there have been 26 secondary transmission cases, all within households already linked to the outbreak. Joffe described the number of secondary transmission cases as "relatively small," and credited the quick response to the outbreak.

Premier Smith then spoke, announcing that families affected by the outbreak will receive a one-time payment of $2,000 per child as recompense for time spent away from work and/or caring for infected children.

The shared kitchen that is believed to have been at the centre of the outbreak is closed indefinitely.

Joffe explained that the kitchen had been inspected five times this year, with some violations having been found and quickly corrected, though he noted that the critical violations (cockroaches, food being transported without temperature control) were found on Sept. 5. This was after the E. coli outbreak had been confirmed, and these violations were different than what had previously been seen at that location.

He says 45 food items have been collected for testing with 19 results having come back and more expected in the coming days.

"This is an extremely complex investigation., and identifying the exact source and how things unfolded is like trying to find a needle amongst a field of haystacks. We know that the source is highly likely to have come from the central kitchen," says Joffe.

All 11 closure orders issued to childcare facilities have now been rescinded, as the daycares have been reinspected and have met all the requirements to reopen.


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