New research suggests Alberta COVID-19 R value currently too high to lift restrictions

Click to play video: 'Alberta records record COVID-19 positivity rate'
Alberta records record COVID-19 positivity rate
WATCH ABOVE: The province reported a record-high test positivity rate Friday. One of every 10 people tested positive for COVID-19. Nicole Stillger has more – Dec 5, 2020

When it comes to decisions about increasing or decreasing mandatory measures in Alberta, the most important number the province is watching could be the reproduction number — also known as the R value.

The province has not made the R-value public since Nov. 22, but Global News has obtained research that shows as of Dec. 4 the reproduction number is at 1.215 across Alberta, 1.253 in the Calgary Zone and 1.198 in the Edmonton Zone.

READ MORE: Coronavirus R value in Alberta remains low after parts of economy reopened

The R value explains how many people a positive case will infect. For example, if the R value is one, then one person will infect one other person, who infects one other person.

An R number of two means one person infects two others who go on to infect two others each. An R number of 0.5 means fewer people will become infected than the previous generation of cases.

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Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Kenney wants Alberta’s R value to fall below 1'
COVID-19: Kenney wants Alberta’s R value to fall below 1

The R value is the metric Premier Jason Kenney said will be used to assess new measures announced on Nov. 24.

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Kenney said the province’s R value must be below one by Dec. 15 for measures to be lifted; he said ideally the R value would be 0.8.

READ MORE: Alberta officials no longer planning to post provincial R value publicly

Alberta officials told Global News on Nov. 27 the provincial COVID-19 R value would begin being posted publicly on Nov. 30 but then backtracked on that decision on Dec. 2. The province said the Nov. 27 announcement was made prior to a final decision on the matter.

“We’ll be discussing that at our next cabinet COVID committee about what metrics to release and when to release them, which frequency as we move towards the weeks and months to come,” Kenney said on Dec. 2.

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The premier said another important metric the province pays close attention to is the positivity rate. On Friday, it was at 10.5 per cent, and on Saturday the positivity rate for tests over the last 24 hours was just below nine per cent.

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s COVID-19 positivity rate hits 10.5%'
Alberta’s COVID-19 positivity rate hits 10.5%

— With files from Julia Wong, Global News

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