Researcher Says Alberta Could See 1,000 Daily Cases By Mid-April As Variant Rates Rise

Researcher Says Alberta Could See 1,000 Daily Cases By Mid-April As Variant Rates Rise

Government modeling released in late January showed that with the variant, 250 cases could quickly climb to more than 10,000 in six weeks.

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Alberta could see the same number of new COVID-19 cases in mid-April as at the height of the second wave in December, according to a Calgary researcher.

Modeling by developmental biologist Gosia Gasperowicz shows that the number of variant cases are doubling faster than just over a week ago, meaning there could be twice as many cases of variants all seven to nine days instead of 11 to 12 days. The British variant B.1.7.7. could become the dominant strain in the province early next month and, with its rapid growth rate, there could be 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day by mid-April and 4,000 a day by May if none restriction is made. in.

Gasperowicz said variant cases, which are more contagious and deadly, have increased exponentially but were not as visible before.

“Once it becomes dominant, we can see super-fast growth across the board… the variant is sort of invisible (now) because it’s an undercurrent,” she says. “If we didn’t have the old variants it would be a new pandemic, we would clearly see (the growth) and we would already be panicking right now.”

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Government modeling released in late January showed that with the variant, 250 cases could quickly climb to over 10,000 in six weeks. Alberta Health declined a request for updated modeling on Wednesday.

The province has reported more cases of variants than any other province, and cases have nearly doubled in the past week. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Deena Hinshaw said on Wednesday that variant cases accounted for about 19% of all active cases in the province.

The figures do not take into account changes to restrictions or mass vaccinations and do not include hospitalizations or intensive care stays.

Another 202 variant cases were identified on Wednesday, setting a record for the fourth time in a week.

Daily cases in the second wave in Alberta peaked at 1,887 on December 14, and active cases in the province peaked the day before at 20,976. Intensive care stays peaked on December 29 with 150 patients in the hospital. ‘hospital, followed by the deadliest day on January 2 when 30 people died.

Different patients separated, ICU predicts surge

Some research shows that people infected with one strain of COVID-19 could be infected with another, which could create even more problems for hospitals in a third wave.

Dr Darren Marland, intensive care at Royal Alexandra Hospital, said there were a limited number of single rooms in the building for general care patients, making it more difficult to isolate people with the disease.

“Now we have another level of complexity – it’s going to be more difficult to get patients into the slots,” he said. “There will be a lot more travel and a greater risk of epidemics when you complicate the system.”

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The ICU is working on a contingency plan to efficiently move patients through the system and empower respiratory and nursing staff, and they will also separate patients with variants, he said.

Alberta Health Services spokesperson Kerry Williamson said in an email Wednesday that the preference is to isolate patients in private rooms before transferring them to a COVID-19 unit until they test negative for a variant strain.

“If they test positive for a variant strain, they stay isolated in a private room,” he said in an email.

“The variants are considered to be a different strain of the virus, and it is not yet definitive whether or not an individual may be infected with a second strain after having the first. This approach allows us to be cautious and cautious. ”

More cases of variants could also mean more young people in hospital, Hinshaw said on Wednesday, as variants have been shown to increase the risk of hospitalization and death by 40 to 60 percent.

“I would absolutely fear that over time, as this continues to spread, we would potentially see an increased number of young people in the hospital,” she said.

There are 173 general intensive care beds in Alberta, including 72 in Edmonton, but these can be expanded, Williamson said.

Prepare for the third wave

Dr James Talbot, co-chair of the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association, said the government needs to set a clear threshold not only for when restrictions will ease, but also for when they will ease. will be restored.

The current cases come from activities from two weeks ago, including people socializing in bars and restaurants, he said, and that doesn’t even include St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.

“We’re looking at the potential of a lot of super spreaders and that’s more fuel for the new variant,” he said.

“It’s absolutely clear that eating and drinking indoors with the new variant is not a good idea… I think they need to look carefully at the precautions they took out in the first two steps, and if we go. protect hospitals, so they can continue to serve people. ”

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