Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Alberta on Thursday, Aug. 26

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Alberta reported 1,112 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday with a positivity rate of 10.5 per cent.

Alberta reported 1,112 new cases on Thursday

A nurse prepares to give a COVID-19 vaccine to Castro Arian in Edmonton in this file photo. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

The latest COVID-19 numbers:

  • Alberta reported 1,112 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, out of 10,572 tests. 
  • There were 9,066 active cases across Alberta — an increase of 570 from the previous day.
  • As of last Friday, the vast majority of the active cases are among the unvaccinated (73 per cent), followed by the partially vaccinated (11.6 per cent). Only 15 per cent of the cases are people who have been fully vaccinated, according to Alberta Health.
  • There were 308 people being treated in hospital, 64 of whom were in intensive care beds.
  • All but one of those in ICU beds for COVID (98.5 per cent) were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, and 79.1 per cent of non-ICU patients were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said Thursday on Twitter.
  • Four more deaths were reported on Thursday, bringing Alberta’s total to 2,360 deaths.
  • The positivity rate was 10.5 per cent.
  • The R-value, which represents the number of people infected by each infected person, was 1.19 (with a confidence interval of 1.16-1.23) from Aug. 16-22.
  • 236,360 Albertans are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.
  • Alberta has now identified one case of K417N, known as the delta plus variant. 
  • Emergency medicine doctors have written a letter, sent Friday, to the CEO of Alberta Health Services calling for immediate action to address overwhelmed and understaffed emergency rooms.
  • AHS has said 98 per cent of its acute care and emergency beds are available, but the provincial tracking site shows bed reductions in more than two dozen communities.

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The latest on hospital outbreaks:

The province says that as of Aug. 26 there are COVID-19 outbreaks at eight AHS and Covenant Health acute care facilities:

  • Edmonton Zone:
    • Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
  • South Zone:
    • Medicine Hat Regional Hospital.
    • Chinook Regional Hospital.
    • Cardston Health Centre.
    • Crowsnest Pass Health Centre. 
  • Calgary Zone:
    • Peter Lougheed Centre.
    • Foothills Medical Centre.
    • Rockyview General Hospital.

The latest on restrictions and reopenings:

  • The Alberta government said Aug. 13 that — due to surging COVID-19 cases and higher non-ICU hospitalizations than expected — it would hold off on its controversial move to lift more public health measures on Aug. 16 and would keep them in place six more weeks until Sept. 27, including:
    • Mandatory masking orders in publicly accessible transit, taxis and ride-shares. This includes school buses.
    • Mandatory isolation for 10 days for those with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result.
    • Testing at assessment centres for any symptomatic individual.
  • As of July 29, the Alberta government made the following changes:
    • Quarantine for close contacts is no longer mandatory but recommended. 
    • Contact tracers no longer notify close contacts. Contact tracers will continue to investigate high-risk settings like continuing care facilities. 
    • Asymptomatic testing is no longer recommended. 
  • Hockey Calgary is implementing a mask requirement for all athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers, effective Aug. 27, until at least Sept. 27.
  • The City of Calgary is postponing mandatory return to work for city employees until Oct. 20.
  • A vaccination mandate will be implemented for the Scotiabank Saddledome and McMahon Stadium, the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. announced Monday.
  • All event staff, employees and fans who are eligible for vaccines must be fully vaccinated to attend live events. The target date for the policy to be implemented is Sept. 15.
  • Fans hoping to attend events at Edmonton’s Rogers Place will either need to be fully vaccinated — or have a negative COVID-19 test in hand — before they can enter the building, the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) said Tuesday.
  • All Rogers Place staff, contractors and volunteers must be fully vaccinated.
  • The Calgary Board of Education announced Thursday it was reopening registration for its online learning option because of the continued uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic. The school board originally closed registration for CBe-learn on April 23 and didn’t plan to allow further registrations.
  • The Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District announced last week that masks will need to be worn by K-12 students and staff at the beginning of the school year.
  • Edmonton Public Schools requires all staff and students to wear masks while indoors. At Edmonton Catholic Schools, masks are mandatory in common areas for all staff and students from Grade 4 to 12, and recommended — but not required — for all staff and students while in class. 
  • Both Edmonton school districts intend to work with Alberta Health Services to offer pop-up vaccination clinics for older students.
  • At the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge, anyone not fully vaccinated will have to undergo regular rapid testing as of Sept. 1, the schools announced in a joint statement Tuesday morning. Edmonton’s MacEwan University is also planning to implement rapid testing for students who are not vaccinated.
  • The four schools are also requiring mask-wearing in public indoor areas where physical distancing is not possible.
  • Masks will be mandatory in classes, labs and indoor gatherings of 20 or more people when nearly all faculty and staff return this fall to Mount Royal University in Calgary.
  • At Calgary’s SAIT campus, and Edmonton’s NAIT campus, as well as at  Concordia University of Edmonton, masks are required for all indoor spaces effective Aug. 23. Bow Valley College will require masks indoors as of Aug. 19.
  • The United States said Friday it was extending restrictions on non-essential travel at land and ferry border crossings with Canada until Sept. 21.

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The latest on vaccines:

  • Alberta Health says it is working to improve access to digital immunization records — something some Albertans have been struggling with in recent weeks. Most Albertans are able to access health information through the province’s online MyHealth Records tool, but three vaccinated adults told CBC News on Wednesday that they have encountered problems with the system.
  • Spokesperson Chris Bourdeau said in an emailed statement that Alberta Health “is investigating records individually and working to secure more resources to make immunization record inquiries more timely.” He said Alberta Health is also working to make MyHealth Records easier to access and that soon, Albertans will be able to use it to print a paper card showing immunizations.
  • About 58.7 per cent of all Albertans are fully vaccinated against COVID (or 69.2 per cent when looking at those eligible, ages 12 and older). About 65.9 per cent of the total Alberta population have received at least one dose (or 77.4 per cent of those eligible), according to the most recent data from Alberta Health.
  • That’s considerably lower than the national average. Canada-wide, 65.6 per cent of the total population and 75.1 per cent of those ages 12 and older have been fully vaccinated. About 72.7 per cent of the total population, or 83.2 per cent of those ages 12 and older, have received at least one dose as of Aug. 25, according to the CBC’s vaccine tracker.
  • Canadian imams are urging members of the Muslim community to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. The Calgary-based Islamic Supreme Council of Canada issued a joint statement pointing to “overwhelming, undeniable scientific evidence” of vaccine protection as a fourth wave targets mostly unvaccinated people.The group says delaying or avoiding vaccination — unless under the advice of a medical expert — puts lives in danger, which goes against the teachings of Islam.
  • Four Alberta universities are hoping a new competition will help get more young people vaccinated. Concordia University of Edmonton, the University of Lethbridge, NorQuest College, and MacEwan University are all asking post-secondary students across the province to create media encouraging their peers to get vaccinated through facts and creativity.
  • The Alberta government says it expects to have a decision by September about whether to offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to people with compromised immune systems, after U.S. health officials recommended the extra protection be made available to all Americans.
  • Starting Sept. 7, temporary COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be set up in schools for students in Grades 7 to 12 and for teachers and staff. 
  • The federal government will soon require that all public servants be vaccinated — a mandate that will also be implemented by Crown corporations and other federally regulated businesses in the coming weeks.
  • Starting soon, all commercial air travellers and passengers on inter-provincial trains and large marine vessels with overnight accommodations (such as cruise ships) will have to be vaccinated. Accommodations will be made for “those few who are unable to be vaccinated,” such as testing and screening.

See which regions are being hit hardest:

Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases as reported by the province on Thursday.

  • Calgary zone: 2,673.
  • Edmonton zone: 2,857.
  • South zone: 1,055.
  • North zone: 1,491.
  • Central zone: 967.
  • Unknown: 23.

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With files from The Canadian Press.

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