Alberta Confirms Omicron COVID-19 Variant Case – .

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Alberta Confirms Omicron COVID-19 Variant Case – .


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Alberta has confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant COVID-19, the province’s chief medical officer of health said on Tuesday.

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Dr Deena Hinshaw told an afternoon press conference the person tested positive despite being asymptomatic after returning from a trip to Nigeria and the Netherlands.

She said the individual had not left quarantine since his international trip and all necessary measures were in place to prevent transmission.

“At this time, this is the only confirmed case of Omicron in the province,” Hinshaw said.

She said the person traveled alone and returned to Alberta about a week ago, when she took a COVID-19 test.

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Hinshaw said scientists are still learning about the behavior of the Omicron variant but, where it has been identified in the highest numbers, cases have been mostly mild so far, however, they have also been identified mainly in younger people.

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“It is difficult to determine whether or not there is a difference in the results with this variant. It appears that there is potentially a slightly higher risk of re-infection when a person has already been infected, ”Hinshaw said.

“We do not yet know whether or not the efficacy of the vaccine will be impacted by this variant. It is too early to tell. We know that for all of our previous variants, even when there was some impact on the protection against infection from the vaccine, there was always very strong protection against serious results with every new variant that we have. had before.

“So again, having a full set of vaccines is still the best choice even when it comes to this new variant as we continue to learn more about it. “

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Premier Jason Kenney on Monday introduced new measures to track the Omicron COVID-19 variant, noting that 156 travelers in Alberta have been ordered to self-quarantine after returning from countries where the variant of concern has been detected.

Contact tracing and notification, PCR testing for all close contacts, and rapid testing for specific households and settings such as schools and daycares are implemented by the province for all identified COVID-19 cases among returning international travelers to track potential cases of the new Omicron variant.

NDP opposition health spokesperson David Shepherd said in a statement that the confirmed case of the Omicron variant was concerning, especially weeks before the holiday season.

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He said the NDP is calling on the UCP government to adopt two measures that “will help Alberta put in place an effective response.”

“First, Alberta needs an independent science table. Critical decisions will have to be made and they must be supported by high levels of public trust. Jason Kenney doesn’t have that confidence, ”Shepherd said.

“Second, we need a risk index. It is simply a description of the conditions that would trigger changes in public health measures. It is an essential planning resource for families, schools and small businesses.

The province reported 238 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday after performing 5,350 tests for a 4.5% positivity rate.

Across the province, there are 4,545 active cases, a decrease of 305 from Monday.

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Currently, 434 Albertans are hospitalized with the virus, an increase of two from Monday. Of these, 81 are in intensive care, an increase of four.

Six new deaths brought the death toll in the province to 3,248.

As of late Monday, 88.8% of Albertans aged 12 and over eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine had received at least one dose, while 83.9% had received two.

Despite the emergence of the Omicron variant in the province, Hinshaw said it was too early to consider changing the restrictions as the holiday season approached.

“We know that the public health restrictions currently in place are having impacts and we know that the social isolation of the site is a significant issue,” Hinshaw said.

“So as we look at all of our current measures, as we consider whether or not there are additional layers of protection that we might be able to provide over the next few weeks, I think it’s that balance. who will determine what will be the next step. step would be. And these are the discussions that are underway at the moment. “

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