Alberta confirms 6,257 new COVID-19 cases Friday, another pandemic record

Alberta added another 6,257 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, 1,505 more than Thursday’s previous pandemic record for new cases.

Active, documented cases are also at an all-time high at 43,414.

Since the province no longer offers widespread PCR testing, it’s likely the actual numbers are higher.

According to the province, Alberta’s positivity rate was down slightly on Friday, to 38.2 per cent from 39 per cent the day before.

Read more: Severe illness not rising as fast as ‘enormous’ number of Omicron infections: Tam

The province reported Friday that 504 people are in hospital with COVID-19, an increase of 34 from Thursday. COVID-19 cases requiring intensive care remained flat at 64 people.

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The Calgary zone had the most confirmed active cases on Friday with 20,633. There were 16,269 confirmed active cases in the Edmonton zone, 2,305 in the Central zone, 1,758 in the North zone and 1,732 in the South zone.

Read more: COVID-19: Alberta ‘will not revisit’ mandatory vaccination: Kenney

Following comments from the federal health minister that he expects provinces and territories may consider further mandating vaccination against COVID-19 in the future, Premier Jason Kenney tweeted his government “will not revisit that decision, period.”

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the decision to mandate vaccines is the provinces’ to make, adding the fragility of the health-care system is evident.

“(O)ur people are tired and the only way that we know to go through COVID-19 — this variant and any future variant — is through vaccination,” the federal health minister said Friday.

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Friday evening, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw tweeted that she has received questions about mask use and whether she recommends universal use of N95 masks in public settings.

She wrote there is “no conclusive evidence that N95 masks provide sufficient additional benefit in these settings.”

Read more: What masks work best against Omicron? Experts are divided, but most say ditch cloth masks

“Using N95 masks is an option, but a well-fitting medical mask provides significant benefit,” Hinshaw said, repeating comments made earlier in the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Cloth masks provide some benefit but must be well-fitting and multi-layered, with at least one layer providing good filtration.”

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Hinshaw said masks are one layer of protection against COVID-19. Others include staying distanced, avoiding crowded spaces, maximizing ventilation and reducing time spent with people outside one’s household.

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