Also Thursday, 1,020 cases of worrying variants were identified.
Variants now represent 54% of all current active COVID-19 cases.
In the past 24 hours, approximately 17,200 tests have been performed, bringing Alberta’s positivity rate to 9.5%.
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As of Thursday, 416 Albertans were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 86 in intensive care.
Alberta Health Services said on Wednesday it had added 10 additional intensive care beds in the Edmonton area, for a total of 82 general adult intensive care beds.
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AHS said it continues to have adequate capacity in its hospitals and can increase capacity as needed, as was the case during the first and second waves of COVID-19.
‘Book as fast as you can’: Premier says 1.7 million Albertans are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday
Five more deaths from COVID-19 have been reported to Alberta Health in the past 24 hours, bringing the provincial death toll from the disease to 2,034.
An 80-year-old man has died in the Edmonton area. Her case included comorbidities, Alberta Health said. A woman in her 80s and a man in his 50s in the central area have died. Both included comorbidities. A woman in her 60s linked to the outbreak at Blue Sky Lodge in the southern area has died. The case included comorbidities. And a man in his sixties with no known comorbidities in the southern area has died.
Hinshaw Highlights Safety of AstraZeneca Vaccine
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has reiterated the facts about the AstraZeneca vaccine and its effectiveness.
Hinshaw pointed out that the reported blood clot problems are extremely rare and treatable.
“The main benefit of this vaccine is how it protects against COVID-19,” she said, adding that the first dose of AstraZeneca reduces infection by 60-70% and reduces hospitalization due 80% COVID-19, including with the B.1.1 .7 variant.
She said, in her professional opinion, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.
More than 27,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in Alberta, along with 58,000 doses of CoviSHIELD / AstraZeneca, the province said.
There have been no confirmed cases of rare blood clots known as vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) in Alberta, and only one case across Canada, Hinshaw added.
Alberta Health says he is much more likely to suffer from blood clots from smoking, falls and other common daily events.
This vaccine is currently available to anyone in Alberta between the ages of 55 and 64 in pharmacies and online through AHS.
AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe despite ‘stronger link’ to blood clots, says Health Canada
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Hinshaw said there are also risks in waiting for a different COVID-19 vaccine and not being protected during that waiting period.
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“The risk of an unwanted outcome from COVID-19 infection is very real and has a much higher probability, especially with age,” the province said.
“The risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 treatment in people aged 55 to 59 is approximately 1,500 times the risk of VIPIT, and the risk of death from COVID-19 in this age group is approximately 125 times higher than the risk of VIPIT. “
Walk-in vaccinations with AstraZeneca
Alberta will also offer walk-in vaccinations with AstraZeneca at 26 pharmacies in Edmonton and Calgary. They will start on Saturday April 17 and last five days to start.
AHS will also be opening two AstraZeneca walk-in clinics at the existing Edmonton EXPO Center fast-flow clinic and the Southport clinic in Calgary starting Saturday.
Anyone who is eligible can come in and receive a dose, Hinshaw said, regardless of where they live in Alberta.
Currently, 710 pharmacies continue to offer appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Calgary Rapid Flow Clinic at the Telus Convention Center will continue to offer AstraZeneca by appointment.
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Vaccination of long-term hospitalized patients
Alberta Health Services said Thursday it was working to expand COVID-19 vaccination services to eligible “long-term acute care patients” in hospitals across the province.
Eligibility will be determined by the phased rollout of the province, the length of the patient’s acute care stay and the patient’s condition. Patients will be able to receive their injection on site at the hospital if they wish, AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson told Global News.
“We anticipate that this program will be available in all acute care centers across the province over the next few weeks,” said Williamson.
Alberta Surpasses 1M COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Given, 1,412 New Cases Reported
On Wednesday, health officials announced that Alberta had passed the mark of one million doses of vaccine administered.
As of April 13, 1,004,123 doses of vaccine had been administered.
Since many of these doses are first doses, the premier said that means about 18% of Albertans have “some protection against COVID-19.”
The province said that “every adult in Alberta will be offered a first dose of vaccine by June 30, if not sooner.”
Extracurricular activities in Calgary must be outdoors
With alerts or outbreaks in 478 – or about 20 percent – of all schools in Alberta and the decision by Calgary school districts to put learning online for at least two weeks, Hinshaw announced changes to rules for extracurricular activities in Calgary.
She said that as of Monday, all after-school sports, recreation and performance activities for young people in Calgary will have to be either outdoors or halted during the same two-week period.
This change is made so “they can continue in a low risk environment,” Hinshaw said.
She stressed that stopping community spread is the best way to reduce the overall number of cases in Alberta.
“Social activities outside of school can easily spread the virus.”
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People in phase 1, 2A, 2B and some in 2C can now reserve their injection in one of the 1,300 pharmacies and 103 immunization sites in the province.
More than 1.7 million Albertans are currently eligible, the government said. You can book your free appointment for the vaccine here.