Everything it is advisable to find out about COVID-19 in Alberta on Friday, Jan. 14

EDITOR’S NOTE: Daily case counts have by no means been excellent, however at this level within the Omicron-driven wave, they seem to be a deeply flawed metric. Throughout the pandemic, the case counts have been primarily based on polymerase chain response (PCR) testing executed by provincial our bodies like Alberta Health Services, however these testing protocols have shifted to prioritize high-priority teams and people in increased threat settings, like health-care employees. So there are prone to be 1000’s of cases going untested, or examined however not reported, since there is no such thing as a system for cataloguing at-home fast antigen exams. 

As a outcome, CBC News will de-emphasize case counts in our protection, in favour of information and metrics that consultants now say are extra illuminating — equivalent to COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, which assist us perceive Omicron’s influence on the health-care system and severity of sickness it causes, in addition to the testing positivity fee, which if it begins to stage out and are available down may point out the wave has peaked.

The latest COVID-19 numbers:

  • Alberta COVID-19 infections are at document highs because the extremely infectious Omicron variant spreads by way of the province. The following numbers had been launched Jan. 13:
  • Hospitalizations:
    • There had been 786 people with COVID in Alberta hospitals on Jan. 13. Per week earlier, on Jan. 5, there have been 553 contaminated sufferers in hospital.
    • There had been 79 people with COVID in intensive care on Jan. 13, in contrast with 54 on Jan. 5.
    • Provincial ICU capability (together with further surge beds) is now at 80 per cent. Without the extra surge areas, provincial ICU capability can be at 112 per cent.
    • Alberta may see document COVID-19 hospitalizations inside weeks, based on projections from Alberta Health Services’ COVID-19 early warning system.
    • Emerging knowledge from other jurisdictions signifies Omicron could not hit intensive care models because the Delta variant did however will probably influence other areas of the health-care system in emergency wards and ambulatory care.
    • Dr. Eddy Lang, division head of emergency drugs within the Calgary zone, estimates about 10 per cent of all hospitalized sufferers in Calgary zone are positive for Omicron. Roughly half of them are there to be handled for other situations and occur to check positive. But these sufferers must be remoted from others inside the hospital which takes further assets, time and house.
  • Positivity charges:
    • Alberta’s positivity fee on Jan. 12 was almost 41 per cent, a lot increased than seen in earlier waves.
    • The province reported eight extra COVID deaths on Jan. 13. A complete of 3,375 people have died of the virus in Alberta. 
  • Case counts:
    • There had been 6,010 new cases reported Jan. 13. 
    • Alberta introduced 62,733 lively cases of COVID-19, the very best at any level within the close to two-year stretch of the pandemic. 
    • Hinshaw stated the true determine is probably 10 occasions that quantity given that excessive caseloads have overwhelmed the flexibility of the system to check exterior high-priority teams.

Acute care outbreaks:

  • As of Jan. 13, there are outbreaks at 22 AHS and Covenant Health acute care services throughout the province. 
  • There are 4 hospitals within the north zone, seven hospitals within the Edmonton zone, 4 hospitals within the central zone, 5 within the Calgary zone and two within the south zone affected. 
  • Drumheller Health Centre, one of many hospitals affected, has briefly postponed inpatient surgical procedures because of the outbreak on the centre, AHS stated Jan. 11. Day surgical procedures will proceed as scheduled.

School reopenings:

  • The University of Calgary introduced on Jan. 14 that it’s extending on-line lessons till Feb. 19, with a return to in-person lessons after Reading Week, starting on Feb. 28.
  • The University of Alberta can be delaying its return to in-person actions till Feb. 28.
  • Students in Alberta headed again to class on Jan. 10. Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has promised 1000’s of take a look at kits and medical-grade masks will be delivered to college students and oldsters over the subsequent few days.
  • The winter break for Okay-Grade 12 college students was prolonged to Jan. 10 as COVID-19 case numbers surged.
  • Because of the disruption to studying, January diploma exams have been cancelled.
  • Students in grades 4 to 9 will be capable to entry free, prerecorded, on-line tutoring assets beginning this week to assist them atone for expertise and studying they could have missed.
  • Later this yr, that tutoring will be expanded to extra topics and will embody reside tutoring. 
  • School authorities will proceed to have the ability to shift lessons or grades to at-home studying for brief intervals of time to handle outbreaks. 
  • The Calgary Board of Education says it expects staffing shortages to persist because the fifth wave continues. On Jan. 11, greater than 1,200 employees had been absent, the board stated. The variety of absences is a 50 per cent enhance over the earlier three-year common for this cut-off date, the board stated. 
  • Daycares stay open. 
  • The Omicron variant prompted a number of post-secondary establishments throughout the province to return to on-line studying for the primary few weeks of the winter time period.


  • Health Minister Jason Copping stated Wednesday solely 500,000 of the 16 million fast antigen exams promised by Ottawa have arrived and that the steadiness of the ten million from personal suppliers can be tied up in delays and international provide chain bottlenecks.
  • Many Albertans have been struggling up to now two weeks to get their palms on fast exams. The exams had been first accessible on a widespread foundation earlier than the vacations and Albertans can entry them for free on a first-come, first-serve foundation by way of taking part pharmacies and AHS places.
  • Effective Jan. 10, PCR exams can be found solely for choose teams, which includes health-care employees, correctional facility employees and returning worldwide travellers — in an effort to display screen for new variants. Previously, lab-based PCR exams had been additionally accessible to those that didn’t have entry to fast exams.
  • Hinshaw says with the positivity fee close to 40 per cent, transmission is increased than it is ever been earlier than and the province probably has 10 occasions or extra COVID-19 cases than are being identified by way of PCR exams.

Wastewater monitoring:

  • As the Alberta government scales again on widespread PCR testing to deal with these in high-priority settings, the province is now counting on wastewater surveillance greater than ever earlier than to trace the prevalence of COVID-19 in Alberta.
  • The province’s wastewater — and the quantity of an infection in it — has been monitored for 2 years by a gaggle of 23 researchers in a joint mission with the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.
  • The knowledge is updated publicly thrice per week.
  • It depicts the quantity of SARS-CoV-2 RNA — the virus that causes COVID-19 — that’s within the province’s wastewater.
  • The virus is shed in peoples’ feces earlier than signs come up, so values within the knowledge affiliate strongest with cases occurring six days after the samples are collected.
  •  Dr. Michael Parkins, one of many analysis leads, stated on Jan. 7 that it is essential to not overinterpret particular person knowledge factors, equivalent to obvious drops in an infection, however somewhat perceive tendencies over time. 
  • “Our data trends up, up, up…. I don’t think we’ve seen the peak yet,” he stated.

WATCH | How researchers use wastewater to watch COVID-19 unfold:

How researchers use wastewater to watch COVID-19 unfold

As the Alberta government scales again on widespread PCR testing, specializing in these in high-priority settings, the province is now counting on wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 greater than ever. 2:27

Isolation occasions:

  • As of Jan. 3, people with at the very least two doses of vaccine who take a look at positive for COVID-19 must isolate for less than 5 days as an alternative of 10. 
    • If signs proceed previous 5 days, absolutely vaccinated people should proceed to isolate till feeling higher.
    • If they’re symptom free after 5 days, they should put on a masks round others at all occasions when they’re exterior their house.
    • The change does not apply to people who aren’t absolutely vaccinated, who should proceed to isolate for 10 days or till their signs finish, whichever is longer.
    • Health Minister Jason Copping stated the change adopted proof that suggests absolutely immunized people have shorter infectious intervals. 
    • This change additionally follows the strategy taken by Ontario and a few other provinces, in addition to the latest pointers from the Centers for Disease Control within the United States, Copping stated.
    • Exceptions will be offered for workplaces where disruption of service for twenty-four hours or extra can be dangerous to the general public, and where there is no such thing as a other technique to proceed the service besides by bringing employees again earlier than their isolation interval has ended, Copping stated. 
    • In these circumstances, further public health measures will be required. For instance, Copping stated returning employees wouldn’t be allowed to take away their masks when in the identical room as anybody else at any time.

Health restrictions:

  • Premier Jason Kenney says Alberta will not be following Quebec’s plan to impose a monetary penalty on those that refuse to get vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19. He says knowledge exhibits the unvaccinated are proving to be a vastly better burden on the hospital system than the vaccinated, however making them pay additional wouldn’t be truthful.
  • The leaders of Alberta’s largest private and non-private sector unions known as in an open letter on Jan. 11 for drastic lockdown measures instantly to battle the spiralling COVID-19 Omicron variant. But a spokesperson Kenney says the United Conservative government is following and performing on the scientific knowledge and that such restrictions are not being thought-about.
  • New public health restrictions in Alberta took impact on Dec. 24. They embody:
    • Venues within the Restrictions Exemption Program that seat greater than 1,000 people are to be at 50 per cent capability. For venues with capability of 500 to 1,000 occupants, 500 people is the restrict. No meals or drink could be consumed in these venues.
    • Restaurants, pubs and bars are to have a most desk capability of 10 people. Mingling between tables and interactive actions like dancing or billiards will not be permitted.
  • The tightened restrictions got here after Kenney loosened personal social gathering restrictions on Dec. 15, scrapping the rule that solely people from two households can get collectively indoors. He stated social gatherings may encompass people from any family, however should not exceed 10 people (not counting these beneath age 18). He additionally dropped the requirement that everybody at indoor social gatherings be absolutely vaccinated
  • Alberta has had a restrictions exemption program, a voluntary vaccine passport system, in place as of Sept. 20 after struggling by way of a disastrous fourth wave of COVID-19. A full record of restrictions and exemptions is offered on the government’s web site. 


  • As of Jan. 12, Alberta positioned final of all provinces and territories by way of the proportion of eligible people (ages 5 and up) who had acquired the COVID-19 vaccine, based on CBC’s vaccine tracker
    • 72.8 per cent of the province’s whole inhabitants — or 76.8 per cent of eligible Albertans (ages 5 years and older) — have acquired two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • 79.4 per cent of the province’s whole inhabitants, and 83.5 per cent of these ages 5 and older, have acquired at the very least one dose.
  • The province stated as of Jan. 3, a couple of million people have had a booster shot. But an extra two million Albertans have acquired their first two doses and are eligible for a booster. Anyone aged 18 and older who acquired their second COVID-19 vaccine at the very least 5 months in the past is being urged to e-book a booster dose.
  • The City of Calgary’s mobile COVID vaccination program is constant till at the very least Jan. 17, and will be offering booster photographs at various locations round Calgary. It was slated to finish on Dec. 31, however the metropolis stated Monday it has acquired further vaccine provide from the province.

Which areas are being hit hardest:

Here is the latest detailed regional breakdown of lively cases, as reported by the province on Jan. 13:

  • Calgary zone: 29,144.
  • Edmonton zone: 23,353.
  • Central zone: 3,691.
  • North zone: 2,971.
  • South zone: 2,795.
  • Unknown: 779.

COVID in Alberta in charts and graphs:

Here are the latest Alberta COVID-19 tales:

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