Premier Jason Kenney, Dr. Deena Hinshaw update Albertans on COVID-19

Alberta is reporting eight more deaths from COVID-19 and another increase in patients hospitalized for the illness.

As of Thursday, 786 Albertans were in hospital with COVID-19, up from 748 on Wednesday. There are now 79 patients in intensive care units, three fewer than Wednesday.

The province reported 6,010 new COVID-19 cases, although the true number of infections is expected to be much higher.

The highly infectious Omicron variant has pushed up Alberta’s case counts and test positivity rate.

Alberta continues to ration PCR testing as Omicron pushes provincial labs beyond capacity. 

As of Thursday, there were 62,733 known active cases of COVID-19 across the province. Hinshaw has said reducing testing capacity means the true number of infections is likely to be 10 times higher. 

Alberta’s test-positivity rate is now sits just under 41 per cent. 

Alberta could see record COVID-19 hospitalizations within weeks, according to projections from the COVID-19 early warning system used by Alberta Health Services.

“Omicron is so transmissible that the rapidly increasing number of cases could get to a point where more people than any previous wave would need to be admitted for care in hospital,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference Thursday.

“Even if only a small percentage of cases are in hospital, that can still result in a high number of hospital admissions when tens of thousands of active cases are in the province.

“This kind of surge could put extreme pressure on the health-care providers who have been working vigilantly and non-stop for almost two years.

“Our actions today can be a part of preventing that.”

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