‘Wake-up call’: Alberta registers 871 COVID-19 cases, registers 406 variants

'Wake-up call': Alberta registers 871 COVID-19 cases, registers 406 variants

Alberta reported an 11-week high in new daily cases of the novel coronavirus and a new high in cases of more contagious COVID-19 variants

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Premier Jason Kenney will address Albertans alongside Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Deena Hinshaw on Thursday amid an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases and variants ahead of the Easter long weekend, with news possible public health restrictions.

The news comes as Alberta reports a record 11 weeks of new daily cases of the novel coronavirus, as well as a new record of recorded cases of more contagious COVID-19 variants.

Alberta counted 871 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, the most in a single day since 968 were recorded on January 13. The new infections came from around 13,750 tests for a positivity rate of 6.3%.

The province has also detected 406 other cases of variants, all of the B.1.1.7 strain first identified in the UK. There are now 2,660 active variant cases in Alberta, representing 31.9% of the province’s total.

This is a significant increase from the previous week, when variant cases only accounted for 19.4% of active infections, as B.1.1.7 threatens to become the dominant strain in Alberta.


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Speaking to media in Lethbridge on Wednesday, Kenney said the recent numbers were concerning.

“Unfortunately, the new variant leads to an increase in cases in a younger population, and this variant can have a much more serious impact on the health of young people,” he said.

“This is a wake-up call for all Albertans. We can see the end of this thing. . . I beg Albertans to be very careful and follow the public health guidelines and restrictions in place.

The recent spread is likely fueled by a growing complacency with respect to the rules, Kenney said. He asked Albertans to stay home and not socialize outside their homes during spring break.

Alberta will not impose a blanket lockdown, the premier added, saying the province’s goal is not to reduce the number of COVID-19 to zero but to protect its health care system from overflow.

First Jason Kenney. Photo de David Bloom /Postmedia file

As of Wednesday, 301 Albertans were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 63 receiving treatment in intensive care units. That’s a slight increase in intensive care admissions, but the total number of people hospitalized is stable as of Tuesday.

Hospitalization rates in Alberta have risen steadily over the past two weeks after a prolonged plateau following declines seen at the end of the province’s second wave.

Three more deaths were reported in the province on Wednesday, bringing Alberta’s toll to 1990. None were in the Calgary area.

The number of active cases province-wide topped 8,000 for the first time since January 25. There are now 8,350 active virus infections in Alberta; the Calgary Health Services area of ​​Alberta accounts for 47 percent of these cases.


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Kenney said the current vaccination campaign will help bring the numbers down, although the people of Alberta have yet to have a chance to make a substantial difference in the spread of the virus.

“We’re in a totally different place than we were six or 12 months ago. We have now delivered vaccines to over half a million Albertans. By the end (April), it will be well over a million. We probably have about a quarter of our population with some degree of protection. This was not the case just a few months ago, ”he said.

“By mid-May, six to eight weeks from now, we will have massive vaccine coverage.”

Alberta had forecast a massive influx of vaccines this week, but shipping delays will void the number of doses received.

The province has received 125,000 of the 140,400 doses of Pfizer scheduled so far this week. 67,400 additional doses of Moderna expected this week have been postponed until next week, without any details on arrival.

In addition, a planned shipment of 175,400 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, which is one of the 1.5 million doses sent to Canada from the United States, is now scheduled for this weekend or early next week, according to the report. Alberta Health.

By the end of Tuesday, Alberta had administered 634,997 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, up 18,460 from the previous day.

Shoppers Drug Mart associate owner / pharmacist Brian Jones administers the COVID vaccine to Susan Elliott at her Evergreen Village location on Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Shoppers Drug Mart associate owner / pharmacist Brian Jones administers the COVID vaccine to Susan Elliott at her location in Evergreen Village on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Photo de Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia

Since the province’s vaccination campaign began in December, 533,699 Albertans have received at least one of two needed COVID-19 vaccines. This means that 12.1% of all Albertans and 15.5% of adults in the province have at least one injection.


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About 13,000 appointments have been booked for Phase 2B of the immunization, which began Tuesday morning and allows Albertans born in 1963 or earlier with a range of underlying health issues to get the vaccine at drugstores. More than 100,000 other members of the eligibility group are on waiting lists as the province waits for more supplies.

Currently, no vaccine from Alberta is authorized for people under the age of 16. However, that could change after Pfizer announced on Wednesday that its vaccine is safe and effective in children aged 12 to 15.

Speaking to Facebook live on Wednesday, Health Canada’s chief medical officer Dr Supriya Sharma said data received from the company over the next few months would inform its decision to expand eligibility.

“It is likely that Pfizer, if all the data is correct, will be the first where we will be able to give it to younger children,” she said.

Hinshaw did not provide a media update on Wednesday. She will then give a press conference on Thursday, with Kenney scheduled to join.

In a statement, NDP health critic David Shepherd criticized the province for not speaking to the media amid soaring virus rates.

“These trends are deeply concerning and I know they raise serious questions for families and businesses in Alberta about what the coming weeks will bring,” Shepherd said.

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Twitter: @jasonfherring


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