COVID-19 in Alberta today: Hinshaw to give weekend update

Alberta’s top doctor will give a provincial pandemic update Monday afternoon following last week’s record-setting day-over-day increase.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is scheduled to speak at 3:30 p.m. MT. Watch the news conference live on CTVNewsEdmonton.ca. 

Alberta reported 6,257 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, a record daily count increasing known active cases to 43,414.

Limits to testing capacity and eligibility and exclusion of take-home rapid test kit results mean the official new case figure understates the actual number of COVID-19 cases.

The number of patients with COVID-19 in hospital increased to 504 on Friday. The ICU count remained at 64.

The province also reported two more deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 3,338.

More than 7.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta, with 79.5 per cent of all Albertans having had at least a first dose and 73.1 per cent having had a second dose. Nearly a quarter of all Albertans, 24.6 per cent, have also had a booster dose.

OTHER COVID-19 RELATED NEWS 

Alberta schools resume in-person classes on Monday. School districts in Calgary prepared for the return to classrooms by improving ventilation systems. A school district in St. Albert purchased N95 masks for staff and students and contracted PCR testing for employees.

N95s – a respirator-style mask now recommended by health professionals – are sold out across Edmonton, many stores are reporting. Alberta’s top doctor says fitted and filtered cloth or surgical masks still offer “significant benefit.” 

The Edmonton Oilers added two more players to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Sunday, also postponing Monday’s match up with the Ottawa Senators. 

Police in Alberta’s capital city are investigating reports of homeless people being offered money to get vaccinated while pretending to be someone else. 

According to Alberta Health Services, 811 Health Link has never been busier than last month. Pre-pandemic, call volume averaged about 60,000 per month. Since March 2020, that monthly average has soared to approximately 250,000 calls.

Health-care workers are concerned about the impact the Omicron variant could have on Alberta’s hospital system. Information leaked from AHS’ early warning system shows COVID-19 hospitalizations could number between 480 and 1,500 by the last week of January. AHS has said it is ready and able to increase hospital and ICU capacity if needed. 

Most major hospitals in the Edmonton health zone have at least one COVID-19 outbreak, with the largest affecting 22 patients and 11 staff members. More than 50 of Calgary’s long-term care and supportive living facilities were on outbreak status, too, as of Friday. 

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